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Mrs. Warren Gregory 















UNKNOWN as yet to the many, the historical 
phenomenon of Christianity is repeating itself in 
our age. Once more, at a time when the 
established order, both social and spiritual, has 
lost its original vitalizing principle, and ordinary 
experience, bewildered by the clash of tradition 
with new tendencies, is compelled to look outside 
itself for the creative vision, a master personality 
has appeared, whose experience gathered from 
society all that is essential and permanent, gave 
it a new unity, definition, and significance, and 
thus restored a universal religious currency to 
men. The Bahai movement presents many re- 
markable parallels with Christianity. In place 
of John the Baptist, the discerning and articulate 
element within orthodoxy able to feel the new 
birth about to take place from the old body, we 
have Mohammed Ali, the famous " Bab," who 
announced the prophetic manifestation nineteen 
years before the event ; then the tremendous 
figure of Baha'o'llah, centralizing and universal- 



izing the movement ; meanwhile the inevitable 
accompaniment of persecution, a marvellous out- 
burst of pure faith ; and last (this circumstance 
unique in the world's religious history), the 
propagation of Baha'o'llah's teaching by his 
eldest son, Abdul Baha, insuring its integrity. 
Originating in Persia only a generation ago, 
the movement has already penetrated far to 
the East and West, its followers numbering 
millions of men and women, who represent every 
religion, philosophy, race, class, and colour. 
I have devoted a chapter to this dramatic 
story, covering the period from the Bab's 
declaration down to Abdul Baha's memorable 
visit to Europe and America during the years 
1912-13. It is with the Bahai teaching, which 
extends religion so as to include modern science, 
and morality so as to coincide with modern 
economic and political conditions, that I have 
been chiefly concerned. But I have endeavoured 
to present it as a system inevitable in terms of 
our social evolution, and therefore approached 
Bahaism step by step, working gradually toward 
it through familiar types and problems, I pre- 
ferred, in short, to derive Baha'o'llah's unique 
relation to the modern world from the sheer logic 
and advantage of his teaching, rather than to 
derive the logic and advantage of his teaching 


from any authority arbitrarily attached, even by 
reverent love, to his person or to his relation to 
the modern world. It seemed to me that in 
this way a wider and more enduring interest 
in and for the movement could be secured. So 
it is that I have begun this book as though 
Bahaism, its founders, its teaching, and its 
believers did not exist, but have summoned, as 
it were, a convention of all men and women 
of goodwill, reverence, and natural though often 
bewildered faith a convention which, out of its 
own experience, comes to agree upon certain 
fundamental conclusions concerning society and 
the spiritual life, and certain methods by which 
these conclusions can best be realized in action. 
These conclusions are no other than the Bahai 
teaching ; the method is no other than the 
relation of Baha'o'llah to social evolution. For 
the deeper interest arising from unprejudiced 
personal agreement, I willingly forewent the 
advantage I possessed in the fact that Bahaism 
has already established itself throughout the 




May 2, 19] 3. 






















" I believe that at this very hour the great 
revolution is beginning which has been pre- 
paring for two thousand years in the religious 
world the revolution which will substitute for 
corrupted religion, and the system of domina- 
tion which proceeds therefrom, the true 
Religion, the basis of equality between men, 
and of the true liberty to which all beings en- 
dowed with reason aspire." TOLSTOY. 



THE intellectual despair of the past generation, 
best represented, perhaps, by the poetry of 
Matthew Arnold, has become an unnecessary if 
not impossible condition. We can accept the 
agnostic attitude as a splendid display of 
courageous sincerity, as a tradition of sym- 
pathetic tolerance not lightly to be forgotten, 
but we need assume neither its conclusion nor its 
pain. Within two decades, enlightened Euro- 
pean sentiment has gone over from intelligent 
scepticism to intelligent mysticism, from manly 
denial to manly affirmation and activity. Re- 
ligion, in fact, with its eternal power to intensify 
the inward life, has swept back into human 
experience. It offers once more the possession 
of a great happiness independent of outward 
circumstances ; it restores again an ennobling 
admiration, a renewing activity, to the most 



indifferent life. Its latest return, however, is 
made notable by the phenomenon that its origin 
does not exist in the deep, undisciplined heart of 
the people, but in the scientific and philosophic 
mind ; that it has not appeared as a popular 
excitement, overwhelming by its very intensity 
and volume, whatever condemnation or denial 
a highly-educated minority might pronounce 
against it, but rather, derived from the develop- 
ment of knowledge by that same minority, it has 
actually been carried by them to the people. 
The scientist, compelled to realize the presence 
of psychic forces in the universe, admits to the 
shepherd that his hope of immortality is founded 
in reason ; the philosopher, becoming aware of 
sources of knowledge beyond reason, and func- 
tions of activity above intellect, constitutes him- 
self the willing priest of prophetic Revelation. 

By some mysterious fertilizing process, some 
slow but effectual fermentation, the human mind 
seems to have attained a new condition of health. 
Enriched by generations of discovery and in- 
vestigation, it finds itself no longer divided, but 
whole. To the shepherd's and fisherman's passion 
for personal holiness, the modern man can ally, 
as an added factor of enjoyment and power, the 


treasures of knowledge accumulated since the 
passing of Christ. That precious secret of great 
souls throughout history, that a man may be 
both wise and mystical, both profoundly learned 
and simply, even tenderly faithful, has at last 
been whispered abroad to our common inspira- 
tion. After so much doubt, so much restlessness, 
so much confusion, so much agony both in- 
dividual and social, we know for ever and 
unchangeably know that our intellectual and 
spiritual natures can not only be reconciled from 
their long attitude of mutual opposition and 
stultification, but fused into one eager, throbbing 
instrument of purpose and power. Man is no 
longer cleft in two, his courage severed from his 
happiness, his initiative parted from his virtue. 
No. He is a wonderful, complex unity, an 
eternal equilibrium of soul, sense, and reason, 
fitted to draw pleasure from the three worlds of 
spirit, body, and mind, at home in each, and given 
some authority in all. All the old sources of 
happiness are restored, with an added faculty of 
discrimination and creative receptivity. The old 
neglected gardens of faith open before us, to 
enter if we will. Whether we study St. Augus- 
tine to learn the beginning and process of faith, 


or meditate upon the life of St. Francis to enter 
the mystery of adoration, by the sure token of 
the universality of spiritual experience, we shall 
find them more modern than Haeckel, even as 
they are more profound than Taine. 

Another phenomenon, however, even more 
remarkable and significant than the intellectual 
origin of modern faith, is the coeval appearance 
in our civilization of another source and centre 
of loyal devotion. Indeed, this contemporary 
movement, the movement for social reform 
throughout all the phases of human endeavour, 
possesses a far broader social basis and an in- 
finitely more extended following. Within its 
scope must be included, even though they share 
no common organization, the search for a truer 
democracy than any yet attained, manifested in 
every government on earth as a progressive 
instability, a falling forward, so to speak, from 
adjustment to adjustment ; the Socialist propa- 
ganda, which means a similar need for economic 
justice ; the splendid fight for women's rights, 
in which are held suspended consequences 
vastly more important to human welfare than 
either Democracy or Socialism ; " Modernism " 
in the Catholic Church, which represents a 


determined effort to unite ecclesiasticism with 
modern science ; the rise of scientific charity ; 
the foundations for international peace, with 
which logically must be associated the develop- 
ment of a universal language for secondary use ; 
the concentration of capital into great corpora- 
tions, which makes possible a future economic 
efficiency not wholly removed from economic 
justice ; while neither last nor least, perhaps, we 
may add the almost imperceptible yet radical 
changes at work modifying both the ideals and 
methods of education. I have no need to men- 
tion the numerous other social activities now 
going forward, nor to discuss at any length those 
already included, to exhibit the incredible extent 
of this modern insistence upon social regeneration 
and reform. Each activity stamps its own clear, 
stern impression of power and significance, 
evoking a response which, whether sympathetic 
or hostile, invariably connotes a deep recognition 
of that power. Not one movement but drives 
to the heart of some unendurable agony or 
shame ; not one but reveals the unhealed stab 
of some social inequality or the rusted chains 
of some social sin. These movements have 
gathered to themselves most of our positive 


idealism as well as most of our collective will. 
Like so many crusades, they hurl themselves 
against traditional authority with self-forgetful 
passion, knowing only too well that in privilege, 
grown powerful and presumptuous, lies, insulted 
or ignored, the true cross of redress. This com- 
mon necessity and indignation drives them all, 
and one other fundamental identity unites the 
limbs of this otherwise unco-ordinated social 

The revival of religious faith and mysticism 
among philosophers and scientists I have re- 
marked as a modern phenomenon. I have stated 
that they are constituting themselves the 
voluntary apostles of Divine Revelation, carry- 
ing that message of spiritual renewal and intensi- 
fication to the people, instead of receiving, as in 
the past, a spiritual regeneration from them. 
But what response are these enlightened mission- 
aries able to arouse ? What is the answer given 
by the people to this invitation to re-enter the 
inner garden of mysticism and faith ? They 
return no answer at all, since from the nature of 
things they cannot understand the appeal. It is 
explicable only to the few possessing the 
academic training or sheer intellectual power 


necessary to follow the new argument through- 
out its psychological and biological evolution. 
Simple, essential as the final conclusion may be, 
it has been strained through an intellectual 
medium unknown and unknowable to the many, 
with the result that the scientists and philos- 
ophers find themselves shut off from men by the 
wall of their own specialized training. To the 
majority, religion is still enveloped in a tradi- 
tional theology and ecclesiasticism, and they 
cannot imagine a spiritual activity without their 
old enemy, the priest. We might wonder, 
therefore, if the old exaltation had for ever fled 
our social consciousness ; if the great heart of 
Europe were at last broken by its new burden of 
mechanical industry ; if materialism had utterly 
blighted both the memory and the desire of that 
inward assurance which recovered, for each 
generation, from the scorching heat of war or the 
desolate winter of famine, the first, fine, careless 
rapture of human life. We might wonder 
whether even spirituality, the presence of God in 
His children, were not to become an aristocratic 
privilege, dependent upon the possession of a 
trained mind, or at least upon immunity from 
the de-spiritualizing process of factory and tene- 


merit. To the Christian ideal of personal salva- 
tion, at all events, men seem increasingly 
indifferent. In losing their reverence for the 
cloistered saint as the highest human ideal, the 
majority have also put away all interest in the 
psychological or religious method and evolution 
by which the ascetic and celibate types are pro- 
duced. The healthiest modern conscience, in 
short, has rejected for ever the once-adored 
Christian mystery. That is, neither publicly 
nor privately will it announce its own utter 
sinfulness and depravity, with its consequent 
dependence upon gospel or priest. It will not 
imitate nor readily admire Augustine's confes- 
sion and self-crucifixion as the indispensable 
beginning of a new life in God. By his denial 
of such confessions, therefore, the modern man 
shatters for all time the solemn gothic splendour 
of the Christian tradition. 

But must such denial and indifference shatter 
also the possibility of divine manhood ; must it 
destroy all religious mystery, all spiritual con- 
sciousness and growth ; must it, in a word, 
prevent the co-operation of God in the human 
soul ? Before answering this ultimate and all- 
important question, or permitting any authority 


whatever to answer it for us, let us ask a further 
question of the facts we have combined. Among 
what social elements is derived this second 
activity I have touched upon, this determined 
passion for social purity and equality, this 
devoted, tireless effort to bring about a better, 
fairer world ? Surely, among those very types 
and classes who most vigorously oppose the 
Christian tradition ! To the enlightened mysti- 
cism offered by philosophy as, after all, the truest 
possible personal ideal, the people, self-reliant and 
confident, oppose the ideal of social service. In 
some blind, unconscious, intuitive manner, the 
masses feel a subtle danger inevitably latent 
within the old religious experience an unknown, 
decentralizing force to which they must never 
again yield if they hope to carry out their pro- 
gramme of reform. They know that once 
entered upon, the religious path will lead them 
away, one by one, from the world and its wrongs, 
leaving those wrongs as a heritage to their 
children's children and in their children's children 
for ever. Unconsciously, intuitively also, they 
feel that religion should not contain such a 
danger, should not threaten the success of their 
cause that this of itself constitutes part of the 


complex injustice by which they suffer yet, if 
Christianity and Socialism be inalterably opposed, 
so much the worse for Christianity. In vain, 
therefore, the preacher points out the fact that 
this nameless force they resist is the Divine 
Presence ; that if they yield entirely to this 
directing power, they will find a great inward 
happiness more than compensating for all oppres- 
sion, a delight in pain itself, and, at last, a 
passionately triumphant acquiescence in humility 
and obedience. It is in vain. Somehow the 
ancient appeal has lost its intoxication, the great 
challenge its compelling reality. The modern 
man is not concerned with his own possible 
damnation. He is too much concerned with the 
actual damnation of the world. 

In this condition of affairs we have two sets of 
opposing forces the opposition of classes and 
the opposition of ideas. This mutual hostility 
has served to make each movement more definite 
and self-conscious, compelling each to look to the 
truth and the human desirability of its claim ; but 
it has served also to divide and weaken our avail- 
able social power. To all intents and purposes 
the Western world has two camps the Christian 
and the Socialist. All men and women belong 


to one or the other, either by reason of disposition 
and belief, of environment, or social and economic 
necessity. Yet already there is an increasing 
number who detest the confinement imposed 
upon them by adherence to one cause, with the 
involved hostility to the other. Many an earnest 
Christian has gone over to the Socialists, carrying 
his religious faith into the other camp. Reform, 
they say, is only the extension of the Golden 
Rule ; and thus we see a third division arising, 
including those Christians who accept the 
Socialist ideal and those Socialists who feel the 
need of the religious life. It is the purpose of 
this book to follow each line of advance the 
advance of Christianity toward Socialism, and 
the advance of Socialism toward Christianity 
endeavouring thereby to make as clear as possible 
the exact nature of that ideal, Christian-Socialism, 
which undoubtedly represents the future faith ; 
and then to connect these social tendencies with 
a teaching recently given the world, whose in- 
fluence has come to be the most powerful existing 
impetus towards rational and helpful religion. 
Meanwhile, to arrive at the point which permits 
a true perspective on the ideal of Christian- 
Socialism, and permits a sympathetic appreciation 


of the tremendous differences raising it above 
either Christianity, so-called, or above mere 
Socialism, we must once more briefly consider 
the two centres of activity at work in society. 

First, then, there is the revitalization of personal 
spirituality made possible by the final agreement 
of philosophy and religion, science and faith, with 
its attendant recovery of a long-lost possesion of 
joy and steadfastness independent of outward cir- 
cumstances. Second, the accumulating instinct 
and passion for social reform, indicated by 
the change in the centres of popular admira- 
tion from the saint to the plainer but more 
useful public man, this second source of activity 
attracting the majority with far greater autho- 
rity and power than religion, even in its modern 
adaptation. Like two mighty currents, they 
flow through our time. We can neither deny 
their power nor ignore their effect. We can 
only stand silent between them and reverently 
ponder how they will influence each other and 
how both will influence mankind. We remem- 
ber that the one river rises from the unchang- 
ing throne of God ; that in it are the divine 
attributes of joy, steadfastness, peace; while 
the other rises only from the agony and need 


of men, containing the despised gifts of political 
equality, economic independence, and the uni- 
versal opportunity for education and self-de- 
velopment. Both, however, share one common 
property that of making us forget, if we stoop 
and drink deeply from one, the existence of the 
other. No man can behold in pure ecstasy the 
attributes of God within his own soul without 
straightway losing concern for the world. The 
invariable effect of this divine possession, this 
" God-intoxication," is to intensify the importance 
of all personality and magnify into a new pro- 
portion the selves of men. Henceforth the pos- 
sessor sees in every man an object of transcendent 
intrinsic importance, to be partially identified 
with God Himself and brought to a similar state 
of spiritual consciousness by individual treatment 
to be saved, in other words, at all costs. In- 
ward spiritual happiness impels men to share 
their experience with others by a tireless energy 
more unselfish than motherhood. Likewise no 
man can ever completely realize the inherent in- 
justice and diabolical unreasonableness of the 
social structure, burning at the same time with 
an inward vision of what humanity should and 
could be, without straightway flinging down, 


once and for ever, his former desire for personal 
salvation. He sees the world as a vast, ill- 
adjusted machine, menacing the physical, mental, 
and moral health of all its inhabitants at all times. 
In people he sees only the accidental favourable 
or unfavourable effect of environment. He has, 
therefore, only a scant concern for the individual 
with whom he comes in contact the individual 
is already stamped with the trade-mark of the 
machine but his whole being writhes with a 
fierce passion to change the machine itself, before 
countless other lives are marred by its gigantic 
inefficiency. The single flowers he leaves to the 
sweet devotion of a St. Francis ; but the garden 
itself, those conditions of earth and air which 
determine all future plants, this he takes as his 
Arch-Fiend and Tempter, the annihilating Satan 
which he must resist and overcome with every 
breath and muscle and thought within him, 
whether the gods aid and reward him or not. 

These two types of men are diametrically 
opposed. The one cannot understand why the 
other neglects the opportunity of infinite beati- 
tude for the sake of material, transient things ; 
the latter cannot understand why the religious 
man devotes himself to a handful of people, when 


the whole future race is mathematically doomed 
to imperfection and pain. The compromise, the 
temperate drinking of these waters should be 
impossible, since it argues either the inability or 
disinclination to live our human life deeply and 
rightly. In such a case, to choose wrongly is 
wiser than to compromise and abstain. Yet 
before giving ourselves irrevocably to either 
movement, we should see where and how these 
two currents meet, that we may not condemn 
ourselves to the fatal inadequacy of the opposed 
types just considered. We have every right to 
insist that our personal spirituality prove service- 
able to men and that our service, whether 
political or social, contain that religious motive 
which makes men clean and glad and strong. 




LEAVING our ideas in this balanced opposition 
for a moment, let us turn to the world itself and 
learn how the two forces are really working 
themselves out in terms of history and finding 
expression in human nature. For of one fact we 
can be always and wholly certain : that life 
itself, rightly or wrongly, blindly or intelligently, 
must push forward through the generations. 
Nature's activity is independent of our will, even 
our spiritual passion ; and whether the few or 
the many prosper or fail, as we have learned to 
estimate prosperity and failure, humanity dili- 
gently replenishes its stock, and the story is told 
somehow to the end. Nature cannot distinguish 
or prefer : she is concerned with toothache more 
than poetry ; weeds flourish brazenly in our 
neglected garden, and where we have lost the 
rose we shall find the broom. Indeed, this sense 
of a primitive, triumphant vitality in life throws 



a tragic shadow over every individual experience. 
Our own happiness, after all, means so little to 
others ; and our most desperate agony of failure 
or remorse creeps hopelessly into the outer dark- 
ness of the world's oblivion. 

Yet, what is this unconscious humanity ? 
What is this social juggernaut which, by some 
inexplicable wrongness in things, has the power 
to make us at once its high priests and its 
sacrifices, its executioners, and its victims ? We 
need ask for no ideal motive whatever ; it is 
more than enough if we ask from selfishness, 
so-called, and from fear. Each may look out of 
his own window at the world the view, after 
all, is much the same. 

It being our first purpose to understand the 
point of view of the type which despises the 
power of religion and trusts to social science for 
the cure of those structural errors which limit 
and repress our human life, we can surely do so 
most fairly and adequately by entering into those 
experiences which tend to produce such a stand- 
point in ordinary men and women. Before 
collecting material for analysis, however, I wish 
to introduce a short digression, in order that my 
analyses will be followed with greater sympathy, 


and my final deduction be received with deeper 
comprehension of its real importance. 

History, or the annals of mankind, being 
necessarily written from an impersonal, extra- 
human point of view, the historian is compelled 
to establish his perspective outside and beyond 
any individual man or woman. There being, on 
the one hand, no individual who possesses the 
attribute either of immortality or ubiquity, both 
of which are demanded to make possible a history 
with an individual perspective and continuity ; 
and, on the other hand, the fact being evident 
that even could such an individual be supplied to 
the historian, the resulting history would most 
certainly be, if not incomprehensible, yet un- 
sympathetic to the rest of us all this being the 
case, the historian compromises by establishing 
his perspective either within an institution or an 
idea, since institutions and ideas are, compara- 
tively speaking, both ubiquitous and immortal. 
Instead of writing history in terms of personal 
experience, therefore, the historian writes his 
records of human life in terms of churches, 
nations, races, art, science, or some such abstract 
idea as the evolution of political liberty. Sup- 
plied with such an impersonal point of view, he 


can collect all his facts into unity and clearness. 
He can present a story intelligible and of more 
or less concern to all. If he creates an historical 
narrative from the national perspective, for 
example, he establishes in the past a certain 
importance and personal interest for all inhabi- 
tants of that nation or those deriving from those 
inhabitants ; if he discusses a Church, he 
establishes in the past an importance and 
personal interest for all members of that par- 
ticular ecclesiastical division. Likewise with 
economics or the evolution of political freedom, 
by selecting from the past the elements that 
enter into our own present economic or political 
situation, he endows the past with meaning and 
moment to all men in proportion as all men are 
affected by finance and government. But we 
do not lose sight of the fact that this method is 
a compromise. In securing for his narrative a 
relative interest and importance, the historian 
sacrifices the particular interest and importance. 
He sinks the individual citizen into the nation, 
the individual soul into the Church. Magnifying 
institutions, he minimizes personality ; emphasiz- 
ing ideas and things, he weakens men. But 
institutions, whether great or small, transient or 


enduring, have absolutely no importance nor 
even existence except in so far as they affect the 
consciousness of men and women. After all, 
humanity is nothing more than you and I, the 
butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, their 
wives and children, associated into a badly- 
understood and badly-conducted partnership, 
whose only conceivable object is to attain and 
secure our own best welfare. Of what possible 
human avail is a powerful institution if its 
members, taken separately, remain pusillani- 
mous ; of what possible meaning is the propaga- 
tion of a Divine Ideal if the contributed human 
lives remain worldly and base ? By uniting the 
efforts of a thousand comparatively ineffectual 
people, we can doubtless create an organization 
which shall exhibit remarkable effectiveness. 
The Great Pyramid, we recall, was built by a 
horde of wretched slaves. If the object of this 
human existence consist in the erection of an 
impressive tomb, then by concentrating our 
attention upon the completed pyramid we can 
easily overlook the servitude it required, or even 
more easily we can reconcile the chained bodies 
and the chained souls with the heap of unfeeling 
stone those bodies and souls were spent for. 


But the fact remains that to the slaves them- 
selves, most of whom not only perished before 
the pyramid was completed, but suffered physical 
agony and spiritual suffocation during every 
hour of their enforced activity upon it, its 
ultimate significance, architectural or symbolical, 
must have proved not merely an unsatisfactory 
compensation, but an inhuman, an unspeakable 
insult. While admitting the fact in this par- 
ticular instance, the reader will add that it is our 
very weakness and helplessness which makes any 
institution necessary ; that we are not slaves 
fulfilling a tyrant's caprice, but free men and 
women, deriving a more than adequate return in 
safety, efficiency or happiness from the institu- 
tions we support ; and that our allegiance, being 
voluntary, can be broken, renewed, or transferred 
at our own discretion. The institution, indeed, 
when subordinated to personality, contributes to 
both our need and our well-being ; but I cannot 
insist too strongly that every institution possesses 
a subtle, centripetally-operating force which, 
unless eternally resisted, transfers our conscious- 
ness from men to things, from human experience 
to mere numbers and size. 

Though institutions are both powerful and 


enduring, while all men are weak and mortal, 
yet it is not the record of any institution, how- 
ever ideal its purpose, by which you and I must 
measure life and determine its true value. No. 
The value of life is its worth to individual men 
and women at single successive instants. If all 
the flags in the world are flaunted to the bright 
sun, if all the Masses are being loudly chanted, 
all the prayers grandiloquently read, yet, while 
the majority of men and women are wretched, 
life is a wretched business, and the glory of 
nations and sanctity of religions is either an 
angel's aspiration or a devil's lie. Do not be 
deceived in this matter. Let us not find our 
security in statistics, but in our own ability. 
Let us not submissively drag out a useless, 
hampered existence, and then to our dimming 
eyes and chilling heart hug the illusion either 
of flag, cross, or our own still hopeful, still eager 
children. Whatever they are, we are broken 
and inglorious, a worn-out hypocrite creeping 
into his shameful, but restful, grave. Our 
institution deserts us then ; our wife and children 
remain isolated and independent personalities; 
we have only our naked soul at that hour, built 
inexorably up from the successive experiences 


we ourselves have undergone, and may God 
keep us all from discovering too late the spiritual 
impotence of the world. 

So much for the digression. I hope I have 
transferred the scale by which we should measure 
life from its false position in the institution to 
its true position in the soul. I hope I have 
scotched, for a few men and women, the head 
of Eden's eternal serpent, a blind trust in 
material things. We can now return to the 
task of collecting material for analysis. 

Your neighbour, for example, awakes some 
morning to find his business threatened by 
unforeseen commercial readjustments his very 
economic existence, as it were, abruptly, brutally 
summoned before a blind, capricious judge to 
be tried for life and death. As a modern man, 
he will defend his economic self with almost the 
same desperation that he would summon up to 
resist an assault upon his physical being, since 
at our stage of social progress the two are well- 
nigh identical ; and he suddenly realizes how 
vitally all that is superior, enjoyable, comfortable, 
or even decent has become entangled in this 
question of wealth. He feels the same blind, 
instinctive terror, followed instantly by a shock 


of supremely-wrathful indignation against the 
hostile force, whether personal or impersonal, 
individual or organized, that he feels against the 
bully who leaps upon him from the dark, or the 
enormous, pitiless army, slowly, but irresistibly, 
approaching his native town. 

As to the man seized by the plague, the whole 
world is changed. He has become aware of an 
outer darkness just beyond our busy, electric- 
lighted thoroughfares, which holds in ambush 
an eternal, relentless foe. He knows that it is 
only incidental that he is the present victim 
that this enemy is the enemy of all men, but 
can strike only those who wander or are thrust 
too near the fatal line. He wonders how men 
and women can laugh or quarrel about trifles 
in the neighbourhood of such a foe. He wants 
aid, sympathy, fellowship, and turns to society 
as the exhausted swimmer looks yearningly at 
the .shore. There, however, he finds a great 
indifference to his personal fate, but an equal 
indifference to its own danger. In the public 
parks, though, he may notice certain shabby, 
silent men sitting meaninglessly on the benches 
in the sun. Beneath their squalor he sees, with 
a new and poignant penetration, the all but 


obliterated marks of respectability ; beneath their 
ineffectual, empty apathy, he discerns an old 
vigour and intelligence; beneath their turgid 
despair he rediscovers the throbbing heart of 
man's holy sorrow and delight. These men, 
he whispers to himself, these men were once 
what I am; these men are what I may be; 
and at the thought his soul seems to stand at 
the edge of some burning desert of tribulation, 
too vast for terror, too awful for grief. In these 
broken old men he realizes that there is neither 
sympathy nor help ; they have lost the power 
to understand or feel another's misfortune, even 
when it mirrors back their own, while broken 
and socially impotent as they have become, 
they can no longer raise a hand to point out 
or stay the common tragedy. In them, however, 
he sees the ghastly warnings which time and 
destiny have raised to prevent the recurrence 
of such misery in other lives the skeletons 
strewn along the sand of that desert to frighten 
away the social caravan but, as he turns away, 
he knows that not until now has the warning 
been legible, and that had he not faced their ruin 
in himself he would have remained completely 
indifferent, or, which is no better, in the ordinary 


state of personal sympathy, which cares for the 
wounded and buries the dead without knowing 
just where the battlefield lies or just who is the 

Your neighbour, however, knows both. From 
that day he knows that the battlefield extends 
over our whole social life, and includes every 
phase of human activity ; that economics proper 
is only the front line of that army of defence 
in which every science has its own peculiar and 
important part. But he knows more. In a 
vague, yet decided and terrible way, he knows 
that the enemy is not a superhuman power, 
vested in the processes of wind and tide, nor 
even a distinct, definable class of society. No. 
Friend and foe wear the same uniform, employ 
the same weapons, stand side by side, face to 
face, and back to back in one awful, frantic chaos 
and desolation. Lifelong friends unwittingly 
contribute to one another's downfall; fathers 
pass or approve laws which in the future may 
wound their own children's well-being. Nay, 
even more; for your neighbour finds that he 
himself has proudly and resolutely held views 
which he now sees opening like deadly mines 
underfoot. As in some tremendous Old Testa- 


ment vision he beholds our modern unregulated 
competitive industrialism like a vast, unimpeach- 
able conspiracy, in which every man, employer, 
or workman, rich or poor, necessarily is a 
member, and of which all men are potentially 
the victims. 

Yet, to his great comfort, he discovers that he 
is not utterly alone in this realization. Great 
spirits of the past, who possessed the power of 
social observation, have laid the foundation of 
a cleaner, sweeter labouring humanity. Round 
these names, as round undaunted banners which 
no selfishness and no blindness can pull down, 
rally an increasing number of individuals and 
groups, each aware of the common danger, and 
intent only upon destroying the cause. Your 
neighbour, therefore, if he luckily avoids financial 
ruin, or, having failed, retains means enough to 
secure a little leisure, allies himself with some 
such society as being the only tool available to 
his purpose and need. The Church offers him 
no leverage, for its business is the saving of 
souls ; like the State, it is worse than useless, 
for its roots draw their nourishment from the 
very soil he hopes to plough over and resow. 
Private societies, accordingly, little States within 


the national State, offer him a footing; and 
thankful for even a foothold in ground he has 
learned to fear like quicksand, he takes up the 
task of reform. 

Henceforth, his life consists of one revelation 
upon another. First, he learns the impotence 
of the individual. A leaf might have more 
possibility of controlling the tree than one man 
this monstrous organism ; a drop of water could 
easier stop the tide than one man the fluctuations 
of this social sea. Through organization, on the 
other hand, he can reasonably hope to prove 
effective, since the organization supplies a lever 
whose working force multiplies by membership. 
To render the organization powerful, however, 
he next learns that the individual must subject 
his own opinion to the general will. In his 
present state of mind, this demands no sacrifice. 
Indeed, he wonders how any man can cling to 
his own whims and prejudices in the face of such 
overwhelming necessity. Like a soldier to his 
captain, he looks only to the official head for 
command, and does not so much obey a personal 
authority as the compelling spirit of battle. 
His next discovery is the presence of countless 
other societies, a thousand little states jealously 



carved from the national body. Each is funda- 
mentally like his own, an organization composed 
of men who, either by rare sympathy or bitter 
experience, have grown aware of certain un- 
necessary evils preventing humanity from its full 
flower and springtime, certain sicknesses, as it 
were, within the social frame which irritate, 
perplex, and discourage the mind of man. 

While all the world is busy with its walnuts 
and wine, these devoted, intelligent few live 
only for their cause, their self-imposed trust and 
responsibility. But these other organizations, 
while not hostile to his own, but, on the contrary, 
equally consecrated to the general welfare, prove, 
nevertheless, a resisting, deterring influence to 
its beneficial effects, and an unconscious brake 
upon its triumphant progress. This is not 
only because the other organizations have 
amassed a certain number of valuable men and 
women into one compact body against which 
his ideas vainly strike ; not only because the 
social river is thereby crowded with shipping 
which impedes his own free navigation ; but 
rather because each organization has become the 
centre of an ideal, and by its very intensifying 
and spiritualizing power has separated certain 


human hopes into an isolated, self-conscious 
virtue. That is, producing a distinct ideal, each 
organization sets up a new tendency among the 
unorganized majority, a new direction for the 
unguided efforts of the race. But the average 
man, the man who has only a limited social 
energy to expend after fulfilling the daily 
demands of his own family, but who, being the 
average man, therefore supplies the source of all 
social energy, this man, confronted by a multi- 
tude of organizations, finds his interest divided 
and his energy scattered into as many different 
channels. Concerned rather with social welfare 
in general than with any particular phase of it, 
he would naturally prefer to see the results of 
his activity count immediately and directly for 
the general benefit. Instead, he must give a 
penny here, a half-hour there; he must read 
a mere paragraph or two from each chapter if 
he hopes to cover the book ; or he must con- 
centrate upon one ideal and neglect the rest. 
In either event, the result in terms of society 
is the same division and loss of energy, or 
concentration and sacrifice of the broad, effective, 
statesmanlike vision. And he learns only too 
soon that the efficiency of these social organiza- 


tions is not more than 10 per cent. His con- 
tributions of time and money are largely wasted 
on mere organization expense. 

But the breadth of outlook and consequent 
co-ordination of energy usually sacrificed is 
precisely the one essential social virtue. Your 
neighbour, who by this time has become a wiser 
and sadder, if not discouraged man, accepts this 
fact as the very heart of his experience. He 
knows that scientific investigation, international 
peace, and other admirable activities are often 
made possible only by funds contributed by 
interests inherently opposed to the result such 
activities supremely desire ; he knows that the 
resources of a Christian church in New York 
were for a long time invested in a manner that 
would make an I ago blush for shame. Every- 
where he sees a division more fatal than the 
chasm between rich and poor, white and black, 
Oriental and Occidental the division in man's 
ownjiature. Within us all the economic man 
strangles the spiritual man, the patriot manacles 
the Christian, the husband and father outvote 
the philanthropist. This division is absolutely 
fatal, since it brings an enfeebled, cowardly 
human nature to the task of its own regeneration. 


By making it impossible for the Christian clergy- 
man to preach the real Christ, and equally 
impossible for the layman to live the real Christ, 
we appoint a desperately sick man his own 

Now, to prevent anyone from objecting that I 
insist too strongly on the economic situation to 
prevent any of those excellent people who, never 
having lain awake in the cold sweat of poverty, 
think that wealth, or a', least a competence, is 
God's own Who's Who of righteousness to 
prevent these sound sleepers from believing that 
such insistence is only unbalanced demagogy I 
shall give one more example of our social wrong- 
ness and stupidity, selecting one that will have 
upon it no taint. Your other neighbour is a 
successful professional man, happily married, 
public spirited, energetic, and sane. Of his three 
children, he instinctively loves best his youngest, 
a daughter of fourteen. She is a slight, sensitive 
little spirit, exceptionally receptive, yet not at all 
abnormal. Pioneer ancestors have contributed a 
vitality and elasticity tempered and refined by 
the blood of scholars. She gives every promise 
of rich, noble womanhood, conspicuous and 
valuable by its possession of spiritual significance. 


All this, be it understood, is appreciated by your 
neighbour and his wife. One day the child 
seems dull and silent, the next she asks permission 
to remain at home, and by evening lies under 
medical attention, a feverish, overwrought little 
nervous system. She has been over-conscientious 
in her studies and over-sensitive in her relations 
with her mates, and, being the stock and fibre she 
is, has driven herself unnoticed to the verge of 
the last precipice, responding with every delicate 
nerve and sense both to the presence of an ill- 
assorted group of children, and to the pressure of 
a heavy, impersonal educational machine. While 
her mother, consequently, gives twenty hours 
daily to the crushed flower, wondering if those 
little bruised petals will ever again unfold to the 
sun, her father, not less devoted though removed, 
nor less anxious though busy with his own 
routine her father may well wonder what pro- 
vision society makes for its exceptions, its superior 
types, and whether much deviation from the 
hearty, undiscriminating average is desirable in 
our world. 

A fierce resentment comes over him as he 
learns the systematized, inelastic trust-company 
methods of modern public instruction, which 


operates upon the mind with no heed of the 
body from which it derives and reacts, and, like 
a wild, arcadian dream, he begins to picture a 
truer education. He sees in every boy and girl 
an ideal possibility an embryonic manhood and 
womanhood compounded less of information than 
of aspiration, less of learning accurately than 
feeling deeply, less of systematized brain-cells 
than a harmonious co-ordination between spirit, 
mind, and body. He recalls his own school- days, 
and his matured experience reviews his childhood 
and youth, when, with every other boy, he " did 
what he was told, as well as he could." He 
traces his progress through school, college, and 
business ; and at every successful period of his 
career, every point where he rose to the full tide 
of power and accomplishment, he distinctly 
recognizes that the elements directly responsible 
for success had been the enthusiasm and imagina- 
tion that entered into his work, not the infor- 
mation. Moreover, he recognizes that the 
country life general during his boyhood had 
unconsciously effected a natural relationship 
between thought-circulation and blood-circula- 
tion which has never been replaced for the 
children of towns and cities, although the 


intellectual demands made upon adolescence are 
at least double those made a generation ago. 
Information, he observes, is only the paid servant 
of education ; and he resolves the whole conflict 
between classics and sciences, Greek and econom- 
ics, into one simple, luminous rule ; that those 
subjects only should be offered which release 
the child's latent enthusiasm : that Greek is more 
valuable than book-keeping in this respect, 
merely because it contains those elements of 
idealism and magnanimity which do so unfold 
the eager wings of youth ; that Greek itself is 
usually spoiled because it is presented as disci- 
pline rather than as opportunity for admiration ; 
and finally, that, after all, the poetic tradition of 
one's own language and race is by far the best 
educational agency. Enthusiasm and admiration 
once aroused, the rest is easy, and the vocational 
training obligatory to all social existence will be 
eagerly undergone as the necessary means to a 
highly -desirable end. The acquisition of detail 
to one really in love with his subject is as rapid 
and easy as the study of topography by an 
aviator. While the men beneath him are 
stopped by every hedge and lost in every wood, 
he sails freely, magnificently on, picking out a 


river here and a mountain there, making serene 
use of details instead of being confused and 
baffled by them. Jurisprudence, therefore, is a 
passion to the born lawyer, just as metre is a 
divine sport to the born poet ; though if we were 
to believe the ordinary advocate and scribbler, 
these are worse confounded than the streets of 
Constantinople. Facility in the use of detail is 
entirely a matter of perspective, which in turn is 
a matter of enthusiasm and ambition derived 
from natural fitness. This enthusiasm in himself, 
he knows, had contributed a romance and magic 
to the obscurest points of his profession; and 
that without such spontaneity he would never 
have risen beyond a clerkship. The music and 
gymnastics of the Greeks, accordingly, assume 
not only an idealistic, but a very practical value 
in human life, and your neighbour passes a brick 
school-house with a shudder as from a prison. 

Reaching these conclusions, your neighbour 
feels a strong impulse to stop people on the street 
and tell them. He feels like the Columbus of 
some new, fallow, opulent America, and the joy 
of discovery is so intense that he is eager to give 
away square miles of virgin soil to all who stand 
in need. He looks about and undertakes an 


investigation into the whole problem of education. 
It makes no difference to this purpose that his 
daughter recovered after a year in the calm, 
renewing country the iron of wrong has entered 
his soul, he sees the outer darkness of inefficiency 
and failure crouching imminent beyond the 
world's small candle of intellectual manhood and 
womanhood, and his public life henceforth is con- 
secrated to its ultimate extinction. But he enters 
upon the same round of discoveries concerning 
the propagation of a superior ideal in education 
that has already daunted your first neighbour 
concerning the propagation of a superior ideal in 
economics, so that hereafter, their problems being 
identical, we can identify the two cases and con- 
sider them as one. 

From whatever angle, obviously, the earnest 
man enters this labyrinth, from whatever class or 
creed he starts, whatever purpose he has in view, 
he is certain to learn about society the facts 
already mentioned, with as many more as his 
patience and capacity entitle him to receive. 
Like the owner of a very large tree in a very 
small garden, he finds the roots of his cherished 
problem running out into many other people's 
territory. He digs about the trunk first, follow- 


ing each tap-root in its sinuous and extensive 
progress, but in every instance he is stopped short 
by his own limiting wall. Beyond this he cannot 
go. And while the tree is slowly blasted before 
his eyes he wonders which of his neighbours, or 
what process, intentional or otherwise, has 
poisoned the plant. All the societies founded, 
like his own, for social amelioration, raise their 
boundaries and confine him on every side. It 
might be possible, he sees, by some extraordinary 
general convention, to arrange a constructive 
compromise whereby these walls could be pro- 
vided with a friendly gate of mutual intercourse 
and co-operation; but two walls loom up over 
these lower barriers which seem for ever and 
inevitably fixed the frontiers of nations and the 
hostile antagonism of religions. By the time that 
he has worked out to these conclusions, your 
neighbour knows too clearly that any one nation 
and any one religion represents too small a 
section of humanity in which or by which to effect 
permanent social reform. The roots of all the 
important human problems, in short, are hope- 
lessly intertwined and involved without respect 
to any religious, racial, or national boundary- 
line. By this time, if he is anything more than 


a village official excited about the speed of auto- 
mobiles, he has come to regard the nations, the 
races, and the religions as so many adjacent 
gardens grouped about the single tree of human- 
ity. We are all neighbours, he knows, and the 
cultivation of each soil-area has its direct in- 
fluence upon that tree. Some of us are advanced 
and conscientious ; some of us are conscientious 
but ignorant ; some are both ignorant and selfish ; 
some have already begun to dream of a nobler 
tree and fairer fruit ; others scarcely realize that 
there is a tree, but lie drowsily in the sun, eating 
such fruit as falls, contented when it chances to 
be wholesome, and disgustingly, pusillanimously 
sick when the fruit is bad. 

Fixed as he must be in his own particular 
social latitude and longitude, your neighbour 
has nevertheless a new and abiding sense of 
human things. Society seems to him like a vast 
painting worked out by thousands of artists, to 
each of whom a small section of the canvas has 
been given without order of merit. If there was 
any original cartoon, moreover, this has appar- 
ently been lost or destroyed, and consequently 
each artist has been compelled to fill his allotted 
space according to his own ideas. As the natural 


result, the whole canvas represents an ordered 
confusion, a mathematical distortion, a divine 
inconsequence that strikes the beholder like the 
supreme triumph of inspired nightmare. Of 
course, if one looks at only one space at a time, 
concentrating upon the successive environments 
one by one, he always finds more or less harmony 
and perfection. If you speak of confusion, he 
takes you close to the painting, points out his 
favourite section, and refutes you by a triumphant 
silence ; if you suggest distortion, inconsequence, 
he will offer to take you over the whole canvas, 
proving by a profound critical study of each 
section the highly admirable finality of Art. 
Objecting to this method, however, and request- 
ing him to step back and view the work as a 
whole, it is very likely that he will consider you 
a vandal capable of stealing Mona Lisa, or a 
harmless fool who really never deserved a critic's 
serious attention. 

But we have not thought, suffered, or dreamed 
our way to this point to accept the inconclusive 
conclusion of the environment-mind. We cherish 
the fearless, unchanging faith that, if order is not 
now an attribute of human society, it is not in- 
herently impossible to it ; if there is not now an 


international equity, an inter-religious fraternity, 
the human race has received no divine fiat 
making them for ever unattainable. It was not 
written on the stone tablets, nor spoken from the 
Mount of Olives. Nor did Buddha authorize 
any such negation in the philosophic East. By 
the manhood and womanhood within us inter- 
preting human life according to its own creative 
instinct, we insist that there must be some true 
perspective for the social picture ; some point of 
view from which these numberless self-contradic- 
tory, self-stultifying scenes already melt into a 
perfect unity ; and that unity, we know, shall not 
only contain a holy beauty, yet unimaginable, all 
its own, but by some easy and natural meta- 
physics will endow each of its component parts 
with a vigour and delight totally unfelt by those 
who see the parts unrelated to the whole. This we 
know, and in our faith exulting beyond the reach 
of discouragement, we seek this unique point of 
view, this centre of unity, throughout the length 
and breadth of the world. 

Some experience at least, some emotional 
reaction corresponding to this is responsible for 
the Socialistic standpoint. It is a point of view 
far more inclusive than that of religion as 


traditionally conceived, and certainly more firmly 
based. It is the bitter or contemptuous foe of 
orthodoxy, and its demands are too forceful to 
be set aside, just as its influence is too general to 
be resisted. To be quite beyond discouragement, 
however, we must either have attained some 
positive bliss which dares laugh at reason, or have 
acquired some truth which no criticism can ever 
refute or impair. Unreasonable happiness is a 
state we have no desire to realize. Our happiness 
must be more reasonable than reason itself, or we 
want none of it. As all social evils have a 
known cause which science and law conceivably 
can remedy, we need only put into operation 
the requisite agencies, and slowly but surely 
the whole demoralizing tangle will straighten 
out. Have we evolved a saving truth, then, 
which is inexpugnable to experience ? 

The method of this study, as already expressed, 
consists in comparing two diametrically opposite 
values in order to derive a third value reconciling 
and including both. No philosophy can be ex- 
ploded or modified until it has been permitted 
complete opportunity of self-expression. As 
long as either contestant in a debate retains part 
of his argument unformulated he holds open a 


road to victory; but with the whole argument 
once delivered he has no further opportunity of 
dealing with new facts, and has very likely thus 
succeeded in controverting his own conclusions. 
Passing to the other point of view, therefore, 
does the religious type agree with the ideas just 
expressed ? Is he daunted or baffled by them ? 
Not in the least. He says that this philosophy 
begins at the wrong end of life. He says that 
man is not a helpless slave to material environ- 
ment, not a lump of clay to be thumped and 
moulded by the blind potters of the world ; but 
by divine right the creator of his own destiny, 
endowed with will-power to resist all material 
and physical catastrophe, just as he possesses an 
instinctive faith which, when called upon, can 
elevate him above the reach of failure and pain. 
He says that by laying our emphasis upon 
environment we stupify our power to conquer 
environment, and by transferring our efforts from 
the soul to society we weaken that inward 
spiritual activity which alone makes life worth 
living, whose development, in fact, is the end 
and aim of existence. While your Socialists and 
agitators, he continues, are groaning about 
poverty, consider the stern, sweet triumph many 


a weak man and woman has already achieved in 
far more terrible adversity. Which is more 
admirable ? One has only to examine the 
results gained by so much restless running to 
and fro. What is the end of it all ? The more 
that is given the poor, the more they want. 
Gaining an unexpected bodily comfort, they 
have lost their old simplicity and poise. Gain- 
ing a little of this world, they have lost their 
own souls ! And the others too, the rich and 
educated, are suffering from the same disease. 
We are all worshipping at the strange shrines of 
physical and intellectual perfection ; we raise an 
altar to the unknown god whom we might as 
well openly call the God of Pleasure while we 
desert the ark of the covenant and raise impious 
hands against the Crucified. We are winding a 
rope of sand ; we are writing our eternal names 
in water. We stoop over the world's dirty 
carpet, pulling out the rotten threads and 
weaving with them a new rug. How can the 
new rug be any better than the old ? That 
which was dark in the former will be dark in the 
latter ; what was red will be red, and what was 
pure white shall ever be pure all the strands 
inherently unchanged by the mere process of 



changing the design in which they are tied. A 
weak man must be weak however buttressed 
about by social regulations ; a vicious woman 
will be vicious under democracy as under 
monarchy ; while a pure soul can remain un- 
dismayed in the lowest circle of blasphemous 
hell the soul of man under Socialism, in short, 
will continue to be the soul of man. But must 
we be discouraged ? Must we resign ourselves 
to an alternative either hopeless or unworthy ? 
No! And the religious man speaks from the 
great faith within him No ! We must simply 
and utterly begin at the other end of life. We 
must begin with the soul itself, and discipline it 
to acquire or reveal powers over which the world 
has no control. We must admit no compromise 
between spirit and matter, between the man 
and his environment. Once accepting Christ's 
revelation of the soul's supreme sufficiency and 
the world's supreme helplessness, once con- 
secrating ourselves to the inward life of God, 
and all our fears and vexations will cease. Aye, 
the world shall have no more authority over us, 
but this life will take its proper proportion in the 
great eternal scheme as the training school of 
souls, the battleground of right and wrong prep- 


aration, not finality ; possibility, not consumma- 
tion. In a word, he concludes with the lingering 
smile of wisdom in a word, that which makes 
the social ideal both impossible and unworthy of 
man is men is human nature. 

The force of his conviction brings us his point 
of view. Have we indeed begun at the wrong 
end of life ? Are we really beyond discourage- 
ment ? For already this philosophy has thrown 
its disturbing shadow across our steady resolve. 
We have met this revolutionizing factor before, 
this human nature. In our efforts toward social 
well-being, we have been thrown back time after 
time by exasperating and apparently fatal ques- 
tions of personality and disposition. We have 
encountered a certain cross-grained contrariness 
in men which resisted our sharpest saw of pro- 
gress. Our combination of ideas could be relied 
upon, but our association of men soon scattered 
like autumn leaves. The ideal remained firm as 
Gibraltar, but the individual followers dashed 
blindly against one another in the stormy 
Mediterranean of prejudice and jealousy below. 
The religious man, therefore, merely gives a 
definite form to a tendency we ourselves have 
often observed in society ; has only allied to an 


ancient ecclesiastical tradition an undoubted 
instinct of the human soul. Certainly, if this 
everyday flux of passions truly represents 
human nature, we shall find it difficult to resist 
the progress of that militant tradition across our 
lives and institutions. We shall find it impos- 
sible not to exchange, and gladly exchange, our 
troubled vision of men for the calm purpose of 
God. Little by little, as we follow our own 
souls toward divine perfection, we shall first 
relax, then release, our grasp upon outward 
things ; and as eternity develops within us, like 
a new body to cast off the old flesh, a new mind 
to cast off the old thoughts, we shall hear the 
mingled curses and cries of humanity as reveal- 
ing their passion for inward liberty, not political 
equality, for spiritual intensity, not material 
opportunity ; and full of our own new happiness 
and peace we shall leave the untroubled, glory- 
filled cathedral of meditation for the roaring, 
brutal market, bearing a simple story of love, 
meekness, and sacrifice as balm for the broken 
heart and the aching mind of man. 

Here, then, we have the religious point of 
view. Comparing it with the point of view 
previously expressed, we see that neither is 


wrong in the sense that it can be successfully 
denied or neglected. But, on the other hand, 
both are wrong in the sense that both are so 
narrow that they exclude as much truth as they 
contain. It is the excluded truth that finally 
damns a system, not the admixture of error the 
system contains ; and from now on we must 
endeavour to break down the fatal opposition 
that sunders religion and social science. Will 
Christianity absorb Socialism ? Will Socialism 
(I use the term in the broadest sense as meaning 
the whole movement for social amelioration) 
will Socialism make use of Christianity ? What 
will be the character of the new thing, ^Christian- 
Socialism " (or " Socialized-Christianity ") ? 

The common point at which they are compelled 
to meet is human nature. If human nature 
were what the saints and confessors say it is, and 
be no more than they say it is, we should have to 
reconcile ourselves to the eternal opposition of 
world and spirit, with life necessarily unhappy, 
and its only hope in the next world. Fortunately 
for us, the orthodox definitions of human nature 
are strict, narrow, and precise. The Church has 
a definite psychology, while the modern psycho- 
logy only exists as the unformulated impressions 


of most men and women. It has not yet 
brought forth a St. Augustine or Thomas a 
Kempis to focus these various impressions into 
one intense personal experience, and we accord- 
ingly possess no authoritative psychology to 
oppose to the orthodox definitions of human 
nature. It will go hard with us, however, if, as 
living men and women, we cannot evolve a few 
definitions more acceptable to our reason. For 
ourselves, we are conscious of helpless good far 
more than triumphant evil, and unsuccessful 
impulses toward self-control or self-expression, far 
more than desperate but voluntary compacts 
with hell. 

What is human nature viewed in the clear 
light of facts and events ? Is it an element 
for ever fixed in relation to its own resources of 
good and evil, or is it a substance socially capable 
of gradual refinement and purification ? If only 
a blunt yes or no be permitted, we should abso- 
lutely accept the former estimate, and resolutely 
reject the latter. That is, in seeking for the 
ultimate point of responsibility, we had better 
locate it, at all costs, in the individual soul rather 
than in the environment. For we can find the 
same dreary types of sin and shame repeated 


throughout every social arrangement from the 
beginning of time. We can find, likewise, the 
same inspiring types of truth, courage, and fidelity 
exemplified in every conceivable political and 
ecclesiastical order. The constructive mother 
and the destructive harlot dwell side by side in 
London as they dwelt in Athens ; the miser and 
his brother the spendthrift save and scatter our 
paper currency as they used the shell money of 
the Indians. There is apparently no spiritual 
improvement in society as a whole, but only one 
same inevitable and fateful drama which Every- 
man must play to the end. For, could we effect 
a real social amelioration, we should eliminate 
the destructive and vicious types, retaining only 
the superior stock. We ourselves, in other 
words, should be appreciably better than our 
grandparents, which we certainly are not. But 
now I suddenly recollect my objection to the 
historical estimate of life. I suddenly recollect 
that all human existence has been created in the 
form of individual men and women ; and that our 
only fair test of life and standard of the universe 
is the experience of each man and woman, taken 
separately, as a series of personal impressions last- 
ing, with varying degrees of intensity, from birth 


to death. I refused to be duped by the universal 
deception we practise upon ourselves, of looking 
out from our personal experience to some institu- 
tion such as Church or State, and trying to 
identify our own helplessness with its strength, 
our own shame with its glory. Yet the first 
time that the historical method was employed 
as an argument I was temporarily convinced ! 

No, instead of watching the reappearance of 
any type, good or bad, in the interminable pro- 
cess of the generations, let us rather take one 
type and follow its inward experience and fate. 
We can choose any type or any number of 
types, provided always that we take them one 
at a time and study life through their own eyes. 
In this way we shall learn human nature as it 
actually exists in men and women like ourselves, 
not as it is classified in the historical museum. 

Take the harlot type. Emotional or economic 
necessity compels a woman to give or sell herself 
to men. As we see her, she is a creature sunken 
or sinking into the slough of physical and mental 
ruin, feverish or dull, desperate or apathetic, but 
always approaching one terrible climax of dis- 
solution. We might ask what she had been as 
a child ; whether the harlot bears any distinctive 


temperamental indication by which she can be 
recognized as potentially and necessarily a harlot, 
even before actually becoming such. It would 
be a reckless thinker who stated that there is 
any indication of the kind. Among a thousand 
ten-year-old girls which, or how many, will 
become harlots ? We can agree, however, that 
temptation will come to all, whether as unreason- 
able emotion or compelling want, and that only 
those few who cannot resist their particular 
temptation will become harlots ; the great 
majority will attain an unchallenged womanhood. 
Comparing the former with each other, we may 
find some common temperamental likeness 
suggested between them all, an emotional 
intensity bordering upon hysteria, an emotional 
apathy approaching insensibility, some funda- 
mental perversion of reason and will, or some 
anaemia of mind and nerve. Can we accept any 
or all of these conditions as unfailing indices of 
prostitution ? If we do construct an index, we 
must be prepared to find that every other woman 
among the thousand will be indicated by it to 
a greater or less degree. We will also find 
among the acknowledged prostitutes some who 
scarcely respond to our scale, but by the un- 


answerable authority of nature were intended 
to be happy wives and mothers. What con- 
tradiction is this? The reply is easy: that 
society brings a greater pressure to bear upon 
some women than upon others ; that many 
respected women would have succumbed had 
they been exposed to the same early environ- 
ment as the unfortunates ; and, conversely, that 
many and many a prostitute would have realized 
a useful and happy life had she received a little 
more sympathetic attention or a little more 
wholesome food. The "human nature" of 
women, then, while differing according to 
personality, sustains a general likeness which 
authorizes us to derive a few conclusions. We 
may compare it to an elastic, all-pervading sub- 
stance continually subject to strain, which by 
virtue of its strength and elasticity can resist 
terrific pressure, but after receiving a certain 
amount will recover no more, and will break or 
assume a new, distorted form. That is, there 
exists a temptation-point for womanhood, a com- 
bination of poverty, loneliness, discouragement, 
and desperation at which the individual must 
choose between death and shame. I think that 
such an analysis, far from making anyone think 


worse of human nature, fills one with reverent 
awe, darkened by an overshadowing sorrow that 
such a point should be allowed to exist. If only 
a partial vindication for the individual woman 
(yet vindicatory to an extent known only to the 
few devoted and fearless students of the subject), 
yet it is an absolute and eternal conviction of 
society itself. It should create a deep sympathy 
between women that earnest, constructive 
sympathy which surviving soldiers feel for the 
fallen, knowing that in such a hell of bullets 
some must perish, and grateful that it was not 

I have selected one type, and suggested the 
resemblances by which it is knit close to the 
rest of humanity. In choosing the harlot type, 
moreover, I have deliberately taken the form 
of temptation which, while as common as any 
and far severer than most, is nevertheless yielded 
to proportionately less than any other. I have 
deliberately taken the one so-called vicious type 
whose viciousness to become operative must 
stifle the most powerful natural instinct, and, 
having done so, receives the least compensation 
in return. In the compulsory sterilization of one 
woman's passion the whole world is blackly 


damned. But I have not yet touched the heart 
of this matter, I have only cut a cross-section 
of human nature, as it were, and pointed out the 
fact that all its rings are concentric. I have 
only suggested a similarity between people of 
different and even antagonistic temperament, 
but I shall now reveal a tremendous dis- 
similarity, a sheer self-estrangement which exists 
in every individual cleaving him from himself 
like daylight and darkness, or like east and west. 
Who was that proud and hateful man, that 
selfish ruffian round whom suddenly there shined 
a light from heaven, and who after three days of 
fasting and blindness received a new sight and 
a new nature ? The question carries us to the 
very watch-tower of human nature ; it carries 
us to religion and Christ ; the answer, that it 
was the Saul who became St. Paul, brings Christ 
and religion directly to us. For there could be 
no better proof of Saul's desperate and vicious 
nature than that even after conversion he was 
feared by the Apostles ; there can be no better 
proof of Paul's spiritual nature than his own 
later life and influence. In seeking for this 
religious or spiritual nature as a fact in our 
human life, I need not confine myself to the 


strange environment Christ created about Him- 
self in the men and women He passed among, 
for our civilization has never lacked saints and 
mystics, even in its darkest hour. We can dis- 
cover this saintship and mysticism to-day, often 
in those who have no knowledge of its ecclesias- 
tical relation. But no man need accept for the 
purposes of this discussion a condition of being 
in which other men have lived and are living 
to-day. He need only look within himself and 
acknowledge the presence of two natures that 
which he is, and that which he would sometimes 
prefer to be. He knows more about the first 
than the second ; it is thrust upon him, happily 
or unhappily, every day of his life, and seems 
as much more present and actual and inevitable 
as his own home seems more present, actual, 
and inevitable than the sunset hidden behind 
a city's smoke. We need push the question no 
further : it is enough to admit that ordinary 
human nature is not a unity, but a division ; not 
a simple, controllable substance, but two sub- 
stances, each complex, interwoven and involved- 
one firm and unchangeable, like the trees in 
a forest ; the other soft and ephemeral, like the 
light mist which the wind blows among the 


Though most of us are thus divided, some 
men have been united. Without discussing 
the how and why of the fact, let us merely 
examine these men after this inward unity, and 
learn some idea of the new substance, so to 
speak, which in them human nature has suddenly 
become. Undoubtedly the first unusual attribute 
we notice is joy, and, not like our happiness, 
derived from unstable, ever-passing combinations 
of health, environment, self-gratification, success, 
and the weather riot at all like this, but some- 
thing assured, self-deriving, or self-renewing, 
independent of all outward circumstances, and 
as integral a part of the possessor as his heart 
or brain. How can this be ? How can it be 
that whereas with our happiness familiarity 
breeds contempt and taste leads to repletion 
and antipathy, this other happiness falls in love 
with itself, as it were, and by self-consumption 
is ever increased and intensified? Yet there 
is no doubt of its existence, no question of its 
actual possession of these strange qualities. What 
other attribute can we discover in such men? 
Why surely, a faith and stedfastness unalterable, 
and a burning desire to influence the personal 
lives of other men. Now, are we going to resign 


ourselves for ever to our own unsatisfactory 
nature, or rather natures, while witness to so 
desirable a nature in men originally no better 
than we? At least, let us form a working 
hypothesis and then apply it to our own case. 

In some people there seems to exist, or be 
acquired, another set of organs, a different centre 
of activity. A spiritual nature seems to be born 
within them like a butterfly in its chrysalis, as 
different from mind as mind is from body ; and 
this does not always come about through the in- 
fluence of a greater personality, but through the 
man's own desire to reconcile the two natures 
within him. From all evidence and from our 
own experience or instinct we are convinced that 
spirituality comes from our ideal and unattained 
self. But is it merely a superior physical health 
or a clearer intelligence ? Is it one or both of 
these, or something quite new and dissimilar ? 

As an athlete might cast a glance of pity on 
the invalid sitting motionless in the sun, or as the 
eager scholar might turn unhappily away from a 
dullard having no thought of the universe beyond 
his little environment and his brief day like 
these, but with far deeper and broader compassion 
the spiritual man sees the weakness and blindness 


of the spiritually invalid. To him, his spirituality 
is the source of all his existence. It courses 
through his body like a torrent of warm, vitaliz- 
ing blood, rousing the tired heart to youthful 
exuberance and his limbs to the lightness of a 
fawn. It steeps his mind like the sun in Italian 
gardens, drawing a radiant colour and lingering 
perfume from each thought, and inspiring 
emotions jubilant as the thrush among the trees. 
He knows and he knows by the same unanswer- 
able conviction of the athlete who knows his own 
strength, or the scholar who knows his own 
intelligence he knows that he has come into 
possession of a new nature. He knows that this 
new nature, this spiritual self, far from being the 
reaction from clean blood or clear brain, is the 
source of their richest energy. He feels his 
sluggish, unhealing blood demanding new, vital 
nourishment, his tired brain suddenly calling for 
more and profounder materials. A new centre 
of sensation has developed within him, at once 
swifter and more responsive than the old the 
conflux of mind and body with a new current. 
The joy that he had in physical activity becomes 
tenfold, as if he were hurrying to greet a friend ; 
and his thoughts grow passionately interesting, 


each one the key to a supreme secret. But 
deeper and stronger dawns the realization that 
body and mind have found their purpose and 
their sustenance. The body carries him from 
bower to bower of Nature's paradise ; the mind 
brings him glimpse after glimpse of a holy ador- 
able Presence. 

But is this new activity accidental, intermittent, 
contingent ? Far otherwise. He knows at last 
that always, even in his most painful or unhappy 
day, it had been spirit which he had really prayed 
for, not health, will-power, or good fortune. In so 
far as spirit had been present within him, he had 
ever found comfort in weakness and courage in 
despair ; but to the degree that soul had been 
wanting, stifled by the ignorant or unready mind, 
he had been both hopeless and condemned, 
judged and punished. But now, attaining 
spiritual activity, his life has become one strong 
current of power, joy and accomplishment. 
Trials ? misfortunes ? so many wheels the river 
turns as it flows, undelayed and unweakened. 
Sickness ? death ? Oh yes, but the bird sings 
elsewhere when this wood hears it no more the 
poet's creative power seizes upon a new subject 
when the completed poem has been sent abroad. 



Had Shakespeare felt this radiant, self-assured 
spirituality, he would have left us great impulses 
toward happiness instead of eternal phrases of 
regret; had Milton's faith been undarkened by 
the perverted moral consciousness of his gener- 
ation, we should have looked upon no " Paradise 
Lost," but the primal Eden sown eternally for all 
men and women ; and Napoleon would have 
bequeathed no Waterloo to breed the all-poison- 
ing snake of modern armed peace, but a united, 
inspired France, like another Athens, to inflame 
the world. 

One might grant so much yet remain un- 
satisfied. The acquisition of this spiritual nature 
may be dependent on temperament ? Practical, 
everyday people are excluded ? Only he is ex- 
cluded from this attainment who never felt a 
different nature hovering over his common nature, 
a new desire bursting like a strange flower within 
the garden of his dreams. For the soul's pre- 
dominance acts like the authority of a captain, 
bringing obedience to many rebellious impulses 
and unity to many discordant powers. It gathers 
all the physical and intellectual faculties into a 
beautiful, efficient synthesis. It realizes all the 
occasional aspirations by one symmetrical, poised 


faith. It makes every personality a rare posses- 
sion, valuable to the world. The fisherman's 
simplicity it makes Peter's reverence, and from 
Saul's rancour it moulds the ardour of Paul. It 
removes the cause for jealousy and hate by trans- 
ferring desire from the flux of people and things 
to the steadfast mountain of holiness. Personal- 
ity becomes a delight, which had been a burden ; 
individuality becomes a treasure, which had been 
a curse. 

But, if attainable, is spirituality socially desir- 
able ? Does it not deprive humanity of a man, 
and the State of a citizen ? Can a man serve two 
masters ? This indictment is apparently warranted 
by the world's experience with holy men and 
mystics. Spiritual activity has driven men into 
deserts and monasteries. And the men of greatest 
faith have ever attempted to turn our minds from 
this world to another. Once again, however, 
history will provide argument for one side as 
potent as for the other, and we must here trust 
to our own increasing knowledge of the soul. 
Yet what inner truth or instinct can reconcile 
the useless self-torture of St. Simon with the 
devoted public ministry of St. Catherine of Siena ? 
Does the spiritual life effect one temperament 


one way, but another temperament the opposite 
way ? Surely not ! And by comparing the 
activity of the two natures within ourselves, we 
can interpret every apparent contradiction and 
exception. The brutish hermit, the fierce ascetic, 
have been deceived by the overwhelming moral 
perversity of their age, or (which is more likely), 
have not really attained the spiritual life. For 
the desire for this inward sanctification and 
happiness will drive to madness or to ethical 
crime those who are aware of their soul's possi- 
bility, but who are tortured by their apparent 
inability to realize it. Ignorant of the true 
method of operation, they gladly scarify the 
physical and intellectual being in the conviction 
that passion and reason negate or destroy 
spirituality. Should spirituality come to them, 
by reason of their intense desire and despite their 
desperate error, they realize too late how uselessly 
they have deprived the soul of its faithful servants 
and messengers. But even at such cost they 
never regret. On the other hand, when spiritual 
activity is fully awakened in a man, he approaches 
society more closely, and serves the State with 
greater zeal. He finds his true happiness in 
service, and will not solicit from men the recom- 


pense already abundantly bestowed by his 
Creator. He does not crave celibacy nor require 
it, but if the divine accident of love reveal to him 
the mate his psychic and physical incompleteness 
has awaited, he discovers in marriage the primal 
mystery and sacrament of life. Nakedness and 
innocence become identified as one indivisible 
quality, and love the mutual rendering of one 
divine gift. The flaming sword of shame lowers 
for these two ; they find Eden everywhere about 
them, and in parenthood restore to their children 
the golden age. And stronger even than this 
sacrament is the sacrament of the forgiveness of 
sin. All the long-festering centres of hateful, 
shameful thought and memory, spreading a 
subtle and paralyzing infection through his 
consciousness, instantly heal and disappear. The 
mind receives them back into its own cosmic 
infinity, and the individual returns to sin no 
more. Then, as a strong man recovering from 
wasting sickness feels returning his rightful 
mastery over the limbs ; as, gradually but surely, 
his body loses its terrible weight, and he no longer 
need exert a reluctant will-power to raise head 
and arm ; so increase of spiritual health gives 
complete control over the moral nature. The so- 


called virtues, once onerous, are become easy ; 
morality reveals itself as opportunity, not duty. 
Spiritualized human nature expresses its natural 
power and joy through the virtues, as the athlete 
expresses his strength by means of exercises and 
games. Each virtue and grace of life becomes 
in its turn a means for self-expression goblets 
in which the soul may pour its rare and fragrant 

The grimly conscientious and the sceptical 
have probably long ago thrown down this exult- 
ing page ; yet if curiosity, not approval, retain 
their attention still, I shall gladly answer the 
indignant question that now breaks from their 
lips. If this be true, they say (it should be 
remarked that puritan and freethinker put the 
same question), if such joy, steadfastness, and 
power can be derived from a spiritual activity 
free to all men and women, how about them? 
And they point to the passing crowd. Yes, I 
repeat, what about them ? Are they essentially 
different from those multitudes who heard 
Christ, and believed, and went on their way 
rejoicing ? Have they less inherent capacity for 
spiritual living? I firmly believe that they 
possess far more. Then why do they not believe 


also, and rejoice ? The reply is easier and 
simpler than might be thought possible. We 
have only to pause, however, each in his own 
place, and for a moment seriously consider the 
social order, its ideal, its operation, and its effect 
upon the individual. But since, if we consider it 
from no special point of view, with no special 
inquiry in our minds, the world will seem merely 
a great spectacle which, including all kinds and 
conditions, apparently emphasizes no particular 
kind and condition, nor apparently authorizes 
any deduction from facts which cannot be 
sterilized by a diametrically opposite deduction, 
also from facts since this is so, let us deliber- 
ately take one point of view for our outlook upon 
society, and let us formulate one particular ques- 
tion which society must answer. Our point of 
view must be supremely vital ; therefore it shall 
be that of the relations of the individual, who- 
ever and wherever he is the point of view, that 
is, of you and me and every other man and 
woman taken separately and one at a time. This 
is the only natural point of view, since it is the 
one that life itself thrusts equally upon all. But 
our question, also, must be supremely and 
universally important ; therefore it shall be this : 


What effect does the present social order inherently 
and inevitably have upon our spiritual develop- 
ment ? 

Spiritual attainment, as we have seen, consists 
in the transference of our centre of consciousness 
from one being this common being which 
others think of when they think of us to 
another being ; that ideal nature we sometimes 
think of all alone, when our solitude is inspired 
by some uncontrollable passion of love or sorrow. 
It consists in hurling ourselves across an inward 
chasm and becoming different men. It consists 
in effecting a change in ourselves so radical and 
permanent, that after the change we can look 
upon our former nature as the bird looks upon 
the broken shell from which it came, as the 
butterfly looks upon the chrysalis to which it 
need never return. But society tolerates no 
such changes. Whatever the optimist say, or 
the glorious exceptions seem to prove, our social 
arrangement is inherently, inevitably and alto- 
gether opposed to the spiritualization of human 
nature. Its opposition may not be conscious or 
intentional, but none the less it is diabolically 
effective. People, as men and women, may not 
hinder, but encourage us to attain our ideal 


nature ; but people as society fling over every 
soul the confining chains of duty and habit, even 
as the gods bound the aspiring Titon (" Fore- 
sight ") to the sheer rock and laid open his breast 
to the vulture. Spiritual attainment is not the 
mysterious nor tremendously difficult task its 
rareness would seem to imply. It is not so 
difficult as the development of an athlete from 
the ordinary lover of sports ; it is not so 
mysterious as the development of a scholar from 
the ordinary lover of knowledge. The process is 
simpler and swifter, its apparatus less expensive. 
Men have only to realize that the tidal wave 
of power rolling momentarily across their char- 
acters in the presence of a great event like battle, 
a great personality like the orator, a great emo- 
tion like love that this power is not lent to 
them by the outward event or personality, but 
is the effect of their own spiritual nature recog- 
nizing its own attributes in the mirror of the 
world's glory. It is they who bring greatness to 
the event, not the event which brings greatness 
to them. They must realize, moreover, that 
such power, steadfastness, and joy is a transient 
climax, like the crest of the wave, only when 
registered and considered by their lesser nature ; 


but that when registered by their spiritual nature 
it is known to be an attribute of self, and there- 
fore a permanent state of being. One has only 
to go back and recollect as clearly as possible 
what passed through his mind at such a time ; 
he will perceive, like a faded map, a character 
totally superior to his present character, a world 
of labour and men quite different from this 
world. That map or chart of the spiritual self is 
faded now, and it will continue to grow dimmer 
and less believable as he leaves the great crisis 
behind ; yet in that hour it was outlined more 
clearly than the constellations, in figures more 
intensely brilliant than the sun. Every con- 
scious being can draw from his own memory at 
least one impulse which, if followed, would have 
led him to the spiritual life. No human soil is 
so unhallowed that it does not contain at least 
one fragment of self-perfection. By this frag- 
ment, though it be broken and marred like the 
statue of some ancient divinity, the god is re- 
covered to the imagination and the will. 

But what blots out the map of attainment ? 
what barbarism overthrows the shining acropolis 
of perfection ? Once more I seriously desire 
every man to answer for himself, out of his own 


convincing experience. Let him return to the 
momentary vision and impulse and learn what 
malignant demon of commonplaceness stole it, 
like a sunrise, for ever away. He will perceive 
that some social duty too quickly intervened 
between himself and his creative passion, dis- 
tracting him into attention of outward things, 
and that he saw nothing in these outward things 
to correspond to the necessity of his dream, so 
that gradually he came to doubt its existence or 
at least its practicability. But if he be more 
tenacious, if he will not yield so easily to outer 
influence, he will also perceive that society has 
made no available provision for this new nature, 
either to produce or develop it, and hence he, too, 
like the iron heated and then neglected by the 
smith, will cool once more, his form and temper 
unchanged. Here, indeed, lies the dark secret 
of the world's unhappiness : that in neglecting to 
provide for the soul, society has not made the 
mistake of the jeweller who substitutes alloy for 
gold ; it makes the far more consequential error 
of the sword-maker who tries to fashion a blade 
of cold iron. The exceptional personality, more- 
over, who derives his course of action from inner 
necessity and not from outer suggestion, on 


cherishing this new, mysterious impulse and 
releasing its activity to its culmination in the 
successful spiritualization of his nature, he must 
then undergo the ultimate tragedy, the Golgotha 
of the religious life, realizing at last that our 
social order, the prematurely-lauded arrangement 
of a " free Church within a free State," effectively 
prevents him from expressing himself adequately 
in terms of service to his fellow-men. 

Here, in fact, lies the truth excluded by the 
religious psychology. It has not at all taken 
into account the soul's need of self-expression 
through mind and body, with all the social com- 
plications which that involves. The Christian psy- 
chology, in other words, takes it for granted that 
the soul expresses itself only through prayer and 
praise, or through other means equally personal 
and innocuous. It is only when the modern 
Christian, who differs from the monk and priest 
by his sense of human fellowship it is only when 
the modern Christian attempts to carry his 
vision into practice, that he sees the fatal error 
religion has made in permitting or compelling 
society to develop its governmental activity apart 
from its spiritual life. For government, by which 
I mean the social structure in its broadest sense, 


must be realized to be the collective expression 
of human souls ; and as such to possess an all- 
powerful influence over our spiritual life. Human 
nature, then, is too complex and inclusive a 
substance to be independent either of religion or 
social science. In the daily experience of every 
man and woman they meet and blend, though 
society itself is organized upon their intense 
hostility. But since our human nature can, and 
must, reconcile them, it will not be long before 
society reconciles them also. Part III., accord- 
ingly, will study this latter aspect of the problem, 
and show how society is already instinctively 
attempting to unite them, with an inquiry into 
the nature of the social structure that will result. 




OUR nature, broadly speaking, maintains social 
self-expression through two different sets of 
institutions the Church and the State. While 
Church and State truly represent the ideas of their 
members ; while they truly are a projection of 
our natures upon the material world, like a well- 
fitting garment, they are either unfelt or felt only 
as a source of comfort and pleasure. Grounding 
ourselves upon the firm basis that Church and 
State no longer fulfil our needs and desires, we 
can readily perceive wherein each one is a misfit, 
and how both are rapidly altering so as to 
conform to that mould and pattern every man 
bears within himself. 

Of our social existence, we have stated one 
unchallenged fact, that it is a constant defence 
against personal calamity a truceless warfare 
and a peril unremoved. Every man and woman, 
in every environment, at all times, banquets (or 

81 6 


starves !) at the world's table under an impend- 
ings word. Virtue secures a man only partial 
immunity ; health and wealth are mighty shields 
that protect only a little of one's individual 
integrity. With a rapidity that leaves us in- 
different, a multiformity that leaves us resigned, 
disaster and misfortune sickness, poverty, grief, 
helplessness make out their daily bulletins of 
defeat ; and we, the lucky survivors of to-day's 
proscription, may well wonder what sentence the 
morrow will pass upon our lives. We know too 
clearly that it is neither our virtue nor intelligence 
which has given us such respite, for more admir- 
able unselfishness, courage, and wit fell among 
the earliest victims. No. Standing one story 
higher than the superstitious or passionate mob 
which attributes every catastrophe either to 
implacable fate or to some wanton human tyrant 
now propitiating Moloch, now beheading King 
Louis standing one story higher than the 
crowded streets, we have long ago discovered 
the comparative impotence of any individual to 
accomplish good, and the comparative innocence 
of any individual in accomplishing evil. We see 
that evil and misfortune are inherent in the 
inequable social structure ; that the streets of 


our political and economic order are too narrow 
and tortuous to pass the human population 
without crushing many, without bruising, dis- 
turbing, and endangering all. Slowly, like the 
features of a landscape under a lifting fog, appear 
to us the true direction and extent of this peril 
to which we are exposed, and, for a fundamental 
axiom of social life, a law applicable to every 
environment and to any age, we derive this 
statement of fact : the danger to which any man 
is exposed at any moment is a danger to all men 
at that same point of time. 

What does this solemn warning mean ? It 
does not at all mean that when one house catches 
fire the whole town must be consumed ; it does 
not at all mean that when an epidemic breaks 
out, or a financial panic ensues, every citizen 
will be infected or every business destroyed. 
But it means this : that the possibility of fire 
lurks over every building alike, and that just 
previous to any conflagration, all owners share 
potentially in the risk of loss the fact which 
every insurance company is firmly established 
upon ; and it means that when typhoid poisons 
the public water or milk supply, your family and 
your neighbours suffer the same peril of death. 


If he dies, you have no special merit, and have 
survived this ordeal, perhaps, only to sink with 
an overloaded pleasure steamer the next summer, 
or perish in a railroad accident the next week. 

That is its meaning, and the proof of the 
axiom can be further derived by every man from 
his own experience. But immediately upon 
stating the law and taking its implication to 
our own existence immediately upon recog- 
nizing and naming the implacable foe by which 
all men are threatened ruin a new hope, sane 
and sweet and strong as a May morning, rises 
over this desperate darkness and uncovers a 
garden in the very arctics of seedless snow. For 
the fact that one fire no longer involves a city 
implies that a successful system of prevention 
has been devised. It implies, moreover, that 
the system is public and free, never withheld 
from any man's need on account of his poverty, 
his politics, his race, or his morals. It implies 
that in this matter of fire men recognize and 
act upon the fact that the safety of all is the 
safety of each. The fanatic cannot prevent the 
fire department from saving an atheist's office 
building, nor the Conservative divert the water 
from the Liberal's barn. Above all, they would 


not if they could. Likewise, the fact than an 
epidemic no longer destroys the entire popula- 
tion argues an active scientific system of pre- 
vention and cure. A few cases reveal the 
disease ; the alarm goes abroad, our modern 
machinery of hygiene is put into operation, and 
beyond a few victims the epidemic has no power 
to interrupt our social continuity. This fact 
in itself is too commonplace to arouse our 
enthusiasm or gratitude now ; yet it suggests 
much, for even as I write I can turn to my 
window and see the towers of a medieval city, 
where, in the year 1348, the plague carried off 
nearly 80,000 members of a population number- 
ing not more than 100,000 souls. The modern 
man, I am sure, if confronted by a similar 
catastrophe, would prefer death to survival with 
such a melancholy or desperate fraction. Life 
would become too terrible, far more contemptible 
than death, given or withdrawn, nourished or 
denied, according to a blind chance, with all 
God's privilege of existence apparently subject 
to a fortune more hateful than the gambler's 
wheel. But our comparative immunity from 
epidemic supplies the same deduction as our 
comparative immunity from fire that society 


has come to acknowledge and act upon the fact 
that the safety of all is the safety of each. 

I have chosen obvious examples ; I might as 
easily have selected cases of intellectual or 
spiritual misfortune. The shaft of this inquiry 
can be driven into a man's most personal and 
(so-considered) private relations, those relations 
even more important in their effect upon 
efficiency and well-being than his economic and 
political relations; and each typical example, 
on every plane of human existence, would repeat 
and further emphasize the inexpugnable social 
law: that the danger to one is a danger for all; 
that the only safety effectual for the one is the 
safety available for all. For there are many 
terrible misfortunes happening but seldom, that 
are seldom mentioned when known, which exist 
in the structure of society, nevertheless, like a 
virulent serpent hidden under a stone. Are 
there women to whom marriage brings an 
indescribable horror of agony and shame ; 
children to whom life can only mean the slow 
punishment for crimes committed long before 
they were born ? Are there productive intelli- 
gences neglected, willing labourers denied work ? 
Are there children overworked or starved into 


viciousness by nasty food ? Is there anywhere, 
in any person's experience, one damnable social 
injustice or calamity, then as surely as the one 
sun lights us all it threatens you and me. Every 
man and woman ought at least once to face 
squarely and intelligently the more apparent 
facts about our social life. Every fool's paradise 
of shallow optimism, ignorance, or sloth, will be 
destroyed and its dwellers thrust miserably forth. 
And since this is so, we discover a new relation- 
ship binding every man to his fellows. It can 
best be explained by analogy. 

The human body is equipped with nerves in 
every part, whose function is to register every 
danger to the central intelligence. The organism 
as a whole depends upon each minutest nerve for 
its information about environment. The finger- 
tip in detecting heat and cold may be the means 
of saving the body. It is not a matter of the 
relative importance of finger-tip and brain ; it 
is a matter of their absolute interdependence. 
The greatest harm that the eye could bring to 
the body would be merely to omit its warning ; 
and if the hands cannot or will not register pain 
the arms may be broken. But so it is with 
society ; each man's experience of life is a test 


by which we can tell whether the social environ- 
ment is favourable or adverse to human exist- 
ence. Each man is a nerve which must register 
its sensations within the central controlling 
intelligence. For as one nerve or one sense 
cannot serve to adjust body to environment, 
neither can one man or set of men legislate for 
society. We must each study our personal experi- 
ence in the light of a great ideal, and then 
demand as our right from society the immediate 
alleviation of shameful, confining, and despiritual- 
izing conditions. 

Another axiom may now be laid down : that 
every class and group must be fairly represented 
in legislation to insure the social integrity on which 
the well-being of all classes and groups depend. 
For the misrepresentation or uiirepresentation of 
any social element is merely a drugging of the 
nerves that register the condition of some vital 
organ. To inconvenience and oppress labour, 
accordingly, is equivalent to burdening the social 
heart ; and likewise to neglect our poets and 
artists is equivalent to distorting our social vision. 

Rebellion on the part of any class, accordingly, 
reveals the presence of an ill by which the whole 
organism is infected. It is not a desperate and 


dangerous attempt to subvert " law and order," 
but the holy and invaluable attempt to secure the 
general health. There are no inherently opposed 
classes, but only classes unadjusted to the social 
equilibrium. With these facts in mind, we 
possess the only fair criterion with which to judge 
all contemporary social wars, especially the daily 
contest between capital and labour. 

Within the traditional State organization for 
establishing and confirming the rights of men 
there have arisen a thousand lesser instruments, 
as we have seen, each smaller yet sharper than 
the sword of State. We have found that the 
national organization does very well for vast 
operations like war, but for minor injuries for 
child-labour, for sweated women, for the propa- 
gation of a universal language, for tax reform and 
scores of revolutionary activities more the 
private or semi-official association provides a 
surgeon's knife better adapted to the purpose. 
All the more severe existing social evils, as we 
have seen, are inspiring determined propaganda of 
reform. In other words, the drugged and long 
stupefied nerves of society have begun finally to 
register their agony within the central intelligence, 
and body and mind to co-operate at last for their 


mutual balance and health. The life-blood pour- 
ing out to every atrophied member is this same 
passion for rights the intelligence directing the 
operation of social revitalization is our growing 
recognition of the fact that immunity can be 
secured for one man only by securing it for all. 
What is most needed now, therefore, as we 
plainly see, is a better co-ordination between 
the various agencies of reform, and some closer 
and more active sympathy between politics and 
social science. A man can be wholeheartedly 
loyal to only one organization ; he demands, 
accordingly, that the energy he supplies to this 
particular movement shall not prove hostile and 
nugatory to the energy his neighbour is supplying 
to another movement equally necessary for the 
common weal. He does not want, by founding 
or supporting a society for tax revision, for 
example, to set in motion some devious political 
reaction which shall affect opposition to women's 
suffrage. At the present time, unfortunately, he 
is certain to create some such reaction ; and he 
finds every public service an alley in a labyrinth of 
politics and class jealousy, intentionally complex 
to hold that much-dreaded minotaur, human 


But we know that men have assembled a mass 
of social information undreamed of a century 
ago a body of facts and working theories, driven 
by a great ideal, which transcends the information 
at the disposal of the authors of the American 
Constitution as completely as their information 
transcends the social science of an African village. 
We know that all the elements needed for a new 
political synthesis have been assembled and put 
into solution ; and that, half-felt by the ordinary 
man, a new public ideal is undergoing the travail 
of definition and conscious acceptance. 

It will readily be granted that institutions 
survive only by continuing to prove advantageous 
to men. If the American Constitution, for 
example, should ever become as useless as the 
feudal system, it will pass into respectable but 
unlamented oblivion. The only question consists 
in whether, under any circumstances, a national 
organization such as England, Germany, or the 
United States, as we now understand them, could 
ever lose its utility. 

When the intra-national societies such as 
those for tax reform or the prevention of child- 
labour have accomplished their purpose, they 
automatically go out of existence, and their 


members are freed for their original allegiance to 
Church and State. The lesser synthesis merges 
naturally into the greater, and the driving force 
impelling the smaller organization is quietly 
liberated for the service of the greater. Is there 
any larger synthesis, now nameless and undefined, 
into which the national States could similarly 
melt, thus releasing their tremendous forces to 
the use of a more efficient machine ? Perhaps 
we are developing the argument too rapidly. 

To return to the original point of departure, 
then, let us inquire once more whether a national 
organization could ever conceivably lose its reason 
for existence a fair question, surely, to which not 
even a crown prince could object. A very large 
part of its reason for existence unquestionably 
consists in the power to protect its population. 
Does the modern State really protect? How 
foolish ! The question, however, is only too well 
advised. At this very moment the natives of 
Berlin and the natives of London more than 
vaguely believe that they may suddenly find them- 
selves in open and deadly war. Are those people 
so hostile, those two cities so violently and in- 
herently opposed, that war is necessary and 
unavoidable ? Not at all. The danger of war 


does not exist in the individuals of either race 
(taken separately), nor in the political synthesis 
we call a city ; it exists only in the larger syn- 
thesis we call the State. That is, whereas the 
Germans and the English are sympathetic on the 
personal basis, and are mutually tolerant when 
taken city by city, they are prepared, as Germany 
and England, to shock and injure the whole 
civilized world. Or, to carry the deduction one 
step further, some two hundred millions of people 
are thrust to the utter verge of unnecessary, 
undesired warfare by that same political organi- 
zation by which each citizen implicitly believes 
his life and property are defended. 

Could England and Germany be dissolved 
into a synthesis larger than either and including 
both, this fateful war-cloud would instantly 
become a very harmless mass of smoke and 
vapour. Could they be united in some larger 
political unit, as London and Chester or Massa- 
chusetts and Virginia are united, they would 
incur as little risk of war as two cities of one 
kingdom or two states in one federation. Is 
such a larger unit impossible ; such a new 
synthesis incredible ? But sixty years ago 
Massachusetts and Virginia were at desperate 


war ; and only a few centuries farther back 
London and Chester were capitals of rival 
kingdoms ! Prophecy always seems so other- 
worldly and unpractical until it is recognized to 
be merely this common old highway of human 
history laid out a few miles ahead ! On the 
other hand, the determined patriot (the man who 
will be loyal and brave, and never give up the 
ship though he sink the crew) the determined 
nationalist may argue that international peace 
may be secured without altering our present 
political syntheses. For he can truly assert that 
since in every civilized country there exists a 
strong peace movement, its effects will be gained 
for humanity by working separately upon each 
State ; by merely passing a few new laws through 
each Senate, Parliament, Reichstag, or whatever 
the national legislative assembly may be called. 
But let us extend this apparently innocent pro- 
cess a little further, and then see what effect it 
has upon the present political situation. I 
objected to a government a moment ago because, 
instead of protecting life and property, it actually 
threatens both by a terrible international war 
by a war, moreover, against a people who hate 
neither its individuals nor have any desire to 


control their property, but who only hate 
(because they have good reason to fear) that 
particular political unit in which these lives and 
their property cohere. Suppose that I object to 
the present form of representative government 
on the grounds that it does not represent, that it 
voluntarily subjects half the population to 
political serfdom and impotence ? This objec- 
tion is valid as can be. Civil war has been 
reaped a thousand times from a far smaller field ! 
But which half? the patriot stammers, somewhat 
daunted. The feminine half, the mother half, I 
answer. And before the unconvinced Adam in 
him recovers sufficiently to grumble about a 
paradise the women once lost for us all, I 
continue with my reasons for desiring women's 

The fact that women hold property and pay 
taxes, and should therefore have some control 
over its political status, I pass over as for Anglo- 
Saxons, at least, too patent for insistence. I 
omit all discussion, also, of the fact that since 
women, as workers, have been drawn perilously 
near the economic buzz saw, they should be 
given the same power as men to regulate its 
mutilating activity. I put the question on its 


broadest human basis : that in women society 
possesses a magnificent creative and conservative 
force, never so necessary for our common well- 
being as now, but wantonly wasted for lack of 
the adequate means for self-expression. More 
than half the educative, the spiritualizing, even 
the directive instinct of the human race belongs 
to the feminine, not the masculine, nature. 
Being more important than the individual man 
for the propagation and rearing of the species, 
the individual woman is by nature endowed with 
a greater momentum of vitality and energy. In 
every environment where more work must be 
done than can be accomplished by the men, 
women reveal this inherent power. The pioneer's 
wife labours as hard, and as efficiently, as the 
pioneer. But modern society, having attempted 
to relieve the woman's burden of drudgery by 
invention, has succeeded so well as to deprive a 
large class of every duty and responsibility save 
those pertaining to sex. The woman's vast store 
of initiative and energy has been crowded into 
that one narrow, confining channel, so that 
instead of Andromache, mate and begetter of 
heroes, we are doing our best to evolve a 
passionate, irresponsible and destructive being, 


dependent, useless, unhappy, hunted, and flattered 
while despised by men. 

The woman's movement, then, whatever its 
immediate goal, for its ultimate purpose has no 
less an ideal than the re-establishment of a free, 
noble, constructive womanhood, a state of being, 
not merely a political and economic condition. 
But this womanhood can be recovered from the 
vitiating influence of Paris fashions and the 
confining influence of household service only by 
first recovering for the individual woman her 
social responsibility, then her economic freedom, 
and last of all her particular public task, whether 
educative, legislative, judicial, or professional. 
The modern woman must do a so-called man's 
work in the world as the only alternative to 
doing a servant's work or a doll's work. But 
this is no hardship ; in intelligent activity, in 
equal responsibility lies the free, glad use of her 
natural power ; and the professional woman of 
to-day is restoring not only the old, profound 
happiness of women, but also their constructive 
vision of human life, their deliberate, conscious 
and effective reaction from adverse social condi- 
tions, and consequently their real fitness for 
motherhood. Otto Weiniger's cry, hysterical 



but intense, insane but sincere, against the 
destructive influence of women on the in- 
tellectual and spiritual life, must assume its 
proper place as a protest against the doll- woman 
and her eternal mate, the licentious man. For 
men do not strongly enough appreciate this fact 
about sex ; that the more it is emphasized in the 
destiny of women, the more it must be em- 
phasized in the destiny of men. A distorted 
sexual self-consciousness in either sex provokes 
a like self-consciousness in the other. Woman- 
hood is the only mirror in which manhood can 
discover its own most heroic stature and divinest 
features ; a true, entire man, likewise, is the only 
measure by which a proud and aspiring woman 
can estimate her own worth. By freeing the 
woman, therefore, we will free the man ; and it 
must be understood that in this matter of sex 
the ideal for which humanity should strive is not 
that its activity should merely be controllable, as 
if it were a bad temper or an expensive indul- 
gence, but that it should be unconscious, like the 
clean, powerful impulse for food and sleep. 

As men, our attitude toward the subject is 
neither unpractically idealistic nor disinterestedly 
heroic, but both utilitarian and selfish. As 


citizens of a government whose social necessities 
exceed its political control, we should object to 
the perpetual irresponsibility of half the popula- 
tion, especially when we learn from history that 
this half is essentially helpful and constructive 
when made responsible, but essentially destruc- 
tive and dangerous when allowed or compelled 
to relapse into barbarous individualism. We 
should demand, for the common good, that 
women be civilized as rapidly as possible that 
each one be compelled to stand outside her 
prehistoric cave of home, and to train herself 
for public service and public duty. As human 
beings of the masculine gender, moreover, we 
should strongly object to being surrounded by 
women who look to men for a mere living, not 
for a glorious life; who for board and lodging 
are willing to accept men as they are, without 
daring insist upon their transformation into 
superior, knightly beings ; but, like needy ser- 
vants, feel themselves very often obliged to 
endure their position at all costs. Let us demand 
for our own good as well as the common welfare, 
that women be compelled to realize how degrad- 
ing to both members, and to their children, such 
a marriage must be. The women must learn 


to insist upon some heroic test, to be expressed 
either in action or in personality, as the one sure 
proof of love in men, and by exalting and 
purifying their nature, lead them to require that 
the women correspondingly exalt and purify 
their own. A marriage without such mutually- 
inspiring and mutually-revering influence is, to 
say the least, a mistake ; but to speak plainly, it 
is a hideous degradation and sin. 

When we refer the feminist propaganda to the 
national form of government, we observe that 
the modern political unit is far too small to 
control the movement. It is more important for 
a rich woman in New York to assist the political 
agitation of her fellow-women in London than 
to contribute in any way to a government which, 
by continuing as long as possible the tradition of 
war for men and domesticity for woman, con- 
stitutes a potent hostility to human advance ; it 
is more important for an intelligent woman in 
Washington to educate the girls of Persia than 
to help the poor of her own neighbourhood. 
Realizing these facts at the same time that she 
realizes the necessity for a nobler womanhood 
and manhood, she perceives that her highest 
social loyalty absolutely transcends the State, 
and belongs to her sex all over the world. 


But we admit that in time even the blind and 
obstructive political organization will legalize the 
new status of women. Does this prove that 
the national State is a permanent political syn- 
thesis ? Let us carry the same reasoning through 
all modern activities for reform. The Socialists 
of Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, similarly 
find their interests opposed by the national 
government, but defended and furthered by an 
international organization. They know that the 
national boundary-line does not confine class any 
more that it confines sex ; but that the ramifica- 
tions of their economic inequality extend over 
all Europe. The weight of the Socialistic 
influence, accordingly, is thrown for the inter- 
national, not the national organization, and their 
influence unquestionably constitutes the greatest 
modern impetus for arbitration and peace. Ad- 
mitting as before, however, that the better part 
of Socialism will eventually pass into national 
legislation, nevertheless, since justice and equality 
are conditions that cannot be copyrighted nor 
taxed, the legal status of the working man in 
Italy will become practically the same as that of 
an English or German labourer ; and the legal 
status of the American woman, likewise, will 


become practically the same as that of the 
women in Europe. 

But what must be the obvious result upon the 
different national organizations ? Just this : that 
each government, in responding to the common 
internal irresistible popular pressure for reform, 
will gradually approach every other national 
government, until, when that pressure has worked 
itself out in terms of law, the States will have 
become so nearly identical in spirit and purpose, 
if not in detail of operation, that all will have 
been absorbed into a greater State and a more 
controlling government. That is, a greater 
political synthesis will have been attained, by 
natural evolution, not by perilous revolution. 

Such an international synthesis is hardly a 
matter for objection or approval, any more than 
is gravitation or the light of the sun. It repre- 
sents the logical end of the world's political 
evolution; and Socialism, Women's Suffrage, 
Arbitration, exhibit only the more obvious 
examples of those myriad ties already knitting 
the broken bones of nationalism into one healthy 

Considering the world in its material aspect, 
we see the supreme futility of individualism as 


an end or even motive of action. It is merely 
the jungle instinct asserting itself anew in our 
wrongly-termed civilization. It is only the old 
brute terror of pain and annihilation, impelling 
the individual to skulk from tree to tree, fearing 
every other individual, thus incurring hostility 
from all. How unsafe that armed peace really 
was ! But after a little, the savage learns to 
ally himself with a little group of brothers, sons, 
and cousins, born in his own particular cave, and 
thus sharing a bit of that redeeming virtue which 
makes Ms cave, Ms spear, and Ms woman so much 
more superior and " distinctive " than those of 
any other man ; he learns, that is, to create a 
new political synthesis, in which the original law 
of self-preservation gives way to the law that the 
real safety of the individual derives from the 
safety of the tribe, not because the second law 
is more idealistic, but plainly because it is more 
effective. But the new synthesis adopts precisely 
the same law of self-preservation for the tribe 
unit, and consequently that particular jungle 
becomes merely a series of mutually-fearful and 
destructive tribes instead of a series of mutually- 
fearful, destructive individuals. In time, how- 
ever, by a further transfusion of that mystic 


essence of egoism which first made the indi- 
vidual's own cave superior to his neighbour's, 
then his own tribe superior to the tribe across 
the river in time, the tribes in that neighbour- 
hood dissolve into a greater synthesis, the clan ; 
and by their mere dissolution render for ever 
impossible the old interminable tribal feuds. 
But the tribal feud merely gives way to the 
clan war, which is an advance in civilization 
simply because it renders fighting more un- 
frequent, and removes it farther and farther 
from the home, where the women are engaged 
in their constructive occupations, and the clan 
war, to all intents and purposes, constitutes that 
particular misinterpretation of the law of self- 
preservation by which we are all burdened with 
taxes, armaments, and discouraging rumours to- 
day. But we are witness to an increasing fellow- 
ship between the nations, their increasing need 
for an alliance against the common foe of ignor- 
ance, sickness, poverty, and crime, and we know 
that before long this common necessity will 
overflow the jealous political confines of State 
and merge all the States into a greater synthesis 
a social organization more idealistic than the 
present order only because it is more productive 


and effective. And gazing down at the aimless, 
hurrying crowds below, we realize that the new 
synthesis will come as soon as it has been 
sanctified in the old orthodox manner by a 
symbol and an immediate personal advantage, 
sufficiently permeated, that is, by the enduring 
egoism of men. 

By the vital necessity inherent in our social 
development, therefore, we are driven forward 
to an order in which every present isolated 
political unit shall be co-ordinated with every 
other ; an order, moreover, which can and shall 
take advantage of powerful social principles by 
securing a closer relationship between economics 
and law. The individual is now only occasion- 
ally the unit of social responsibility ; the far 
greater part of our social existence depends upon 
the responsibility of larger units, such as parties, 
corporations, and unions. Our legislative prob- 
lem, accordingly, consists in developing a legal 
status for the institution to correspond with the 
legal status of the individual under a simpler 
social order. If the results were not so tragic, 
it would be ridiculous to consider the futility 
of modern law in the presence of powerful 


But such a social order would be a political 
synthesis merely, a synthesis affecting only part 
of our nature and daily life. There would still 
remain unprovided for that immense and all- 
important activity and life we call religion ; and 
being unprovided for in the political synthesis, 
it would not be merely neutral to our political 
existence, but necessarily and continually hostile. 
Unrelated social elements possess no neutrality, 
and can never be endowed with the irresponsi- 
bility which neutrality contains. They are either 
for us or against us, and as long as they remain 
unrelated to the general scheme they will prove 
a terrible foe to our daily welfare. 

Our religious history is merely the projection 
of our political growth upon another plane the 
continual re-interpretation, on terms ever more 
inclusive and efficient, of the instinct of spiritual 
self-preservation. The savage, and the uncivilized 
individual in every environment, guards his soul 
from the world as zealously as he guards his 
body, and with as little success. Without 
pausing to duplicate, with slightly differing 
phrases, the process from lesser to greater syn- 
thesis in religion similar to that we have just 
observed in politics, we must admit that the 


present religious situation is the contemporary 
stage of a development beginning ages ago, and 
still far from its termination. 

Just as we have the mutually opposing and 
stultifying States, so we have the mutually 
opposing Churches and religions. Episcopal, 
Congregational, Nonconformist, are merely cities 
in the province of Protestantism ; Protestant, 
Catholic, and Greek Church are only provinces 
in the Christian state ; Christianity and Moham- 
medanism are merely Europe and Asia written 
in terms of religion. But many a person who 
will admit the possibility of a larger political 
synthesis, will either deny the possibility of a 
complete synthesis in religion, or vigorously 
discount its vital necessity. For why, as the 
argument runs, why should we bother about 
a man's inner belief so long as his actions 
correspond with our ethic and our politic ? In 
this one sphere, at least, every man has a right 
to his own opinion ! Moreover, he might insist, 
we have fought our bloodiest battles to secure 
this very tolerance. Is it so poor an acquisition 
that we must despise it as soon as gained ? 
Though fanaticism is only a more intense expres- 
sion of that partisan feeling which arms one 


nation against all nations, our present so-called 
religious tolerance is not the sympathetic recon- 
ciliation of deep wisdom ; it is rather the laissez- 
faire of complete indifference. Indifference, 
however, constitutes the one unforgivable sin 
in religion as in marriage. What form of toler- 
ance, then, shares earnestness with wisdom ; 
what tolerance is both creative and neutral ? 

By the development of comparative religion 
into a philosophy, if not a science, we have 
learned to express every revelation in terms 
of personal experience. The essence of Chris- 
tianity, for example, is unselfish love, a doctrine 
which has absolutely nothing to do with our 
European ecclesiastical evolution, but derives 
at first hand from Christ, an Oriental. Applied 
as a test to our numerous forms of Protestantism, 
it violently impeaches their long severance, while 
it demands their immediate union. We have 
only to stand within our own particular sect 
and study its points of difference from other 
sects in the light of pure Christianity. We 
find that the difference is either historical, 
theological, or social ; spiritual it certainly is 
not, and by the same token it is unnecessary. 
A synthesis of the Protestant sects, then, it 


follows, is not only possible, but inevitable. It 
may be difficult or even undesirable to merge 
two social clubs whose membership draws from 
different classes or interests ; it may be difficult 
or even undesirable to unite two conflicting 
philosophies into one reconciling system of 
thought ; but I hope no one can be found who 
will assert that Christianity in its enduring, 
essential aspect as spiritual activity, shares the 
limitations either of social clubs or intellectual 
schemes. Without bringing any new or foreign 
element into the discussion, but applying to each 
sect the test of its own faith, we can dissolve 
all Protestantism into a new, glorious synthesis, 
can unite all these scuffling religious tribes into 
one potent nation. 

But Christianity itself would still remain 
fatally divided. Proceeding by the same method, 
however, and undeterred either by the glamour 
of the organization or the apparent authority of 
the priestly army arrayed before both camps, we 
can impose the same stern spiritual test, derived 
from Him whom both alike acknowledge as their 
Origin and Head, and by the resulting success, 
or failure, of its operation, can discover how 
much, or how little real Christianity enters into 


either Church. We perceive, on a larger scale, 
the same source of discord which has prevented 
the alliance of Protestant sects, that the essential 
spiritual activity of men has been perverted, 
repressed, debased, and obscured by social and 
intellectual considerations. Those of either 
camp who refuse to meet upon the common 
spiritual basis, which is neither Protestantism nor 
Catholicism, but the ideal of both, those we 
know and know by the authority of Christ 
Himself are like unto the rich young man who 
would not leave his goods to follow the spiritual 
impulse. They are mere partisans, materialists, 
and slaves to the dehumanizing, despiritualizing 
ecclesiastical machine. 

But having established a firm basis common to 
all so-called Christians a spiritual and religious 
synthesis into which all creeds, sects, and schisms 
can be dissolved, reconciled, and allied we find 
that we have merely come to the frontier 
between Christianity, Mohammedanism, Bud- 
dhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and other 
Oriental religions. Is this soul-strewn frontier 
inevitable and permanent? Let us approach 
the problem from our own religious point of 
view, and work forward on lines already familiar 


to our thought. Imagine a sincere, spiritual 
man who felt an intense desire to bridge this 
dismal gulf between the races, a man bred in the 
Christian tradition, but fitted by his own intelli- 
gence to perceive the difference between the 
essential and the accidental, between the eternal 
spirit and the local manifestation. Going to the 
East, he would find a religious situation strik- 
ingly like our own, a philosophic system and an 
ecclesiastical organization grown up about some 
Prophet Mohammed, Buddha, or another. He 
would find also that, just as in the West, each 
religion possessed two kinds of adherents those 
who merely wore the orthodox badge, so to 
speak, and those who gained true spiritual 
activity through a loyal, vital faith. Engaging 
in conversation with one of the latter (devoutly 
wishing meanwhile that every race had learned 
a secondary, universal language in addition to its 
local mother-tongue), he would quickly make 
two discoveries: first, that the Oriental and 
himself had a strong ground for sympathy and 
union in their mutual love for God and 
humanity ; second, that they possessed a strong 
ground for bitterness and contention in their 
adherence to separate ecclesiastical organizations 


and to unrelated theological traditions. In pro- 
portion as they spoke of the religious life in 
terms of personal experience faith, joy, vision, 
love, prayer they would feel a mutual fellow- 
ship and respect ; but in proportion as they spoke 
of the religious life in terms of Churches, priests, 
and propaganda, they would fall into mutual 
hatred and contempt. But each would realize 
that this very hatred and contempt destroyed his 
own spiritual activity, and under penalty of 
losing his joy and power, each must emphasize 
the reasons for mutual sympathy and union, and 
resolutely thrust away the reasons for discord. 
In other words, the Occidental and the Oriental 
must confine their intercourse entirely to man's 
common love for God and man's common need 
for a better social order. It would not take long 
under these circumstances to convince the 
average man that a union between the racial 
religions is possible, but only by merging each 
religion into a new, greater Religion a religion 
of personal spirituality and social service, a 
Religion of God and humanity. In his conversa- 
tions with the Oriental, moreover, the Occidental 
would incidentally make other discoveries, if 
indeed he had not already learned the facts by 


his studies in comparative religion. He would 
discover that the prophet's relation to society is 
that of teacher that the prophet creates a new 
synthesis in the spiritual world just as the 
statesman creates a new synthesis in the world 
of politics. And just as every nation has its 
founder, the hero whose vision and power made 
possible the national existence, so has each religion 
its founder, the hero whose vision and power 
united the jealous tribes of superstition and 
ignorance into racial consciousness. 

But even when a people receives its political 
consciousness from one source, and its religious 
consciousness from another, the two become 
inextricably fused and involved, so that the 
political activity gains a kind of sanctity and 
awe, while the religious activity waxes bold on a 
hearty fare of racial egotism. Moreover, as in 
looking back to our Romulus, our King Alfred, 
our Washington, we feel more intensely the 
limits of the synthesis they created, and feel 
more bitterly the opposition of similar syntheses ; 
so in proportion as we consider it proper and 
obligatory to look back to Christ, to Buddha, to 
Mohammed, we feel the terrible grip of our own 
religious organization and the threatening fanati- 


cism of all others. On the other hand, when we 
turn our gaze forward when we face the same 
way they did we feel these limits less and less, 
this mutually- destructive hostility less and less, 
and find ourselves in the sweep of a great 
evolution carrying all nationalities onward into 
one Confederation, all religious organizations 
forward to one Religion. The truth even occurs 
to us that our Christ, our Alfred, or Washington , 
would advise us to do that very thing. 

The Western student in the East would learn 
another fact even less appreciated by society : 
that each hemisphere, in developing along totally 
different lines, has acquired the one essential 
aspect of truth which the other most needs at 
the present crisis. The East contains a great 
store of the spiritual wisdom which Europe and 
America are starving for; while the West 
possesses a practical knowledge, a social science, 
without which Oriental civilization is helpless as 
a child. In other words, Occident and Orient, 
viewed at large, are the masculine and feminine 
elements, so to speak, whose union makes human 
nature harmonious, powerful and productive. 
The hostility apparently fundamental between 
them is therefore merely the friction that 


naturally arises when a vigorous young barbarian 
has stolen a beautiful, sensitive aristocrat for his 
wife. His strength she admires, but its unre- 
strained and crude impulsiveness offends her her 
refined beauty, ever somewhat aloof, charms his 
imagination, but with it he meets a physical 
scrupulousness and a moral elasticity which seem 
artificial and debasing. However, a greater 
power than cither's personal opinion holds them 
together. Little by little the man acquires 
penetration and tact, little by little the woman 
grows more sympathetic and practical ; and if at 
their death both still feel a gulf between their 
natures, they have survived long enough to see 
the two natures united in their children. The 
descendants, combining and establishing the 
superiority of both parents, reveal a human 
nature more capable that either stock alone. 

But when the spiritual Occidental and the 
spiritual Oriental have agreed upon the new 
religious synthesis in which both can dissolve 
their separate traditions into a common tradition, 
looking about to see what obstacle actually 
prevents such a synthesis becoming an imme- 
diate fact, they perceive that the organization 
itself, whether Eastern or Western, tends to 


prevent the operation of the laws that are 
striving to merge the races. For, strange as 
it may sound at first, the only purpose of 
Christianity is to make Christians that is, to 
bring all men and women into the circle of one 
Revelation, and by making the whole world (if 
possible), look backward toward Christ, see the 
divine love in Him, and consequently feel a 
unity. But most unfortunately for the purpose, 
Mohammedanism possesses an organization even 
more vigorous and effective. And the whole 
purpose of Mohammedanism is to make Moham- 
medans to bring all men and women into the 
circle of another Revelation, and by making the 
whole world look backward toward Mohammed, 
see the divine love in him, and consequently 
come into a different unity. These rival organi- 
zations constitute a dead centre which no human 
effort can overcome. One might as reasonably 
attempt to make all the English Germans, or all 
the Germans English. It is in the new synthesis, 
the religion which transcends each by including 
all it is in the looking and going forward that 
mankind will unite in one faith and adoration. 
The prophets are moons that reflect the light of 
God ; we must use the moon as a guide to 


reveal the sun, not as itself the source of heat 
and illumination. 

It is very clear, at this stage of the argument, 
that a vital relationship exists between spiritual 
and political truth. It must be more than blind 
chance which has paralleled the economic with 
the religious necessity. For the virtue, Unity, 
most essential to modern government is the 
virtue most essential to modern religion. We 
have arrived at a plane upon which social science 
and Revelation say exactly the same thing ; and 
we have arrived there by routes traversing both 
politics and religion, finding the outlook start- 
lingly similar in both cases. How is this ? 

The answer lies in the essential unity of 
personality. In himself, a man combines all the 
factors of society Church and State merely 
express different phases of the one integral life 
of men. But since there exists this eternal 
personal unity, it is very evident that the 
separation of Church and State threatens the 
welfare of every individual ; and indeed this is 
so. We are all divorced. We carry on daily 
activity, which our religious advisers criticize or 
sadly condone. The true religious impulse, 
which ought to thrust our lives forward easily 


and happily through the day's work, has been 
trained to resist that work ; and consequently 
the spiritual necessity is opposed to the material 
necessity, the moral code to the business code, 
and we bring a sundered nature both to religion 
and to our task. 

But this divorce cannot long endure. The 
unity that is within us demands a unity without. 
A political synthesis is very well by itself, and a 
religious synthesis is very well by itself; but 
their unco-ordination on such a vast scale 
would bring about such terrible results that the 
situation would be unendurable. We need, then, 
a new social synthesis, in which the world- States 
and the world-Churches are united and allied ; 
and happily for the race, the same development 
working in nations and Churches to secure their 
respective unity, is also working in both to secure 
their common unity. 

The alienation of religion from government, 
then, is directly responsible for a world which, 
collectively, is weak, inefficient and cowardly; 
and, individually, contains men and women 
absolutely prevented from realizing their best 
selves joined, as the Creator intended, slowly 
but surely will arise a civilized, civilizing 


Humanity, and a powerful, serene manhood 
and womanhood. For we have not yet realized 
the most vital change that will occur in human 
life. The union of spiritual activity with 
practical intelligence involves and renders pos- 
sible no, renders necessary a social organiza- 
tion increasingly simple. For the first effect 
of spiritual activity upon the individual is to 
make his life simple and sweet. The orgy of 
organized pleasure-hunting, which wastes more 
than half our social energy as well as our natural 
resources, nauseates him from the moment that 
he discovers a keener, more enduring joy within 
his own being. All that dehumanizing burden 
of obligation and expenditure implied in the 
word " establishment " he throws off with an 
exhilarating and grateful sense of freedom. His 
home takes on a new meaning, because it reveals 
a new use ; and without growing austere and 
ascetic on the contrary, finding a strange, 
exciting enjoyment in material things he rear- 
ranges his social life on an entirely new basis. 
He does not surrender unnecessary luxury with 
the desperation of a society woman doing Lenten 
penance he throws it from him with the un- 
conscious vigour of a traveller who awakes in a 


wonderfully mild tropical climate, after having 
lain down shivering under a padded quilt. This 
necessity for lightness and freedom of personal 
activity, this new obligation to respond to 
spiritual pressure, penetrating like a milder 
climate into every human relationship, will 
naturally, inevitably render our present economic 
and political vestment vastly too oppressive. 
For the ultimate, intoxicating secret of human 
life will then little by little disclose itself; that 
the whole purpose of society is to develop and 
maintain spiritual activity in all its members 
not to develop institutions and maintain 
property. This is the ultimatum of our own 
natures we cannot disobey if we would, nor go 
on doubting and denying. All that obstructs, 
sterilizes, and delays our spiritual develop- 
ment, must gradually disappear from the social 
structure ; and our children's children will con- 
sider the nineteenth century as the climax of some 
dream whose very horror smote the sleeper to 
consciousness and the dawning day. 

Our generation, then, stands at the beginning 
of a supreme expansive social phase. I have 
employed the term " the new social synthesis " 
to express that order toward which we move. 


The phrase has been indirectly defined ; I wish 
to make it as clear as possible, however, and will 
accordingly summarize its aspect from the point 
of view of the individual member of society and 
the individual social institution, whether Church 
or State. 

There is in us that series of impulses toward 
physical, mental, and moral activity which we 
recognize as the religious life. Their activity 
is so involved and interdependent that we cannot 
separate and distinguish out the moral life as 
being religious, while the physical and the intel- 
lectual are non-religious. It is rather their 
complex, as expressed in the various inward 
necessities of the passing moment, which deserves 
the name religious. But this series of impulses 
comes into contact with the outer world at every 
moment, or is itself affected by the outer world. 
The individual, accordingly, makes one all- 
important demand upon society that his own 
positive, life-driven impulses be given oppor- 
tunity of expression ; and that society do not 
so affect him through the activity of others that 
his impulses are stunted or perverted. The 
society in which this demand is fulfilled can 
only be constructed by the co-operation of 


spiritual necessity, as driving and directing force, 
with social science as agent and tool. In other 
words, the individual must seize upon every 
material factor and lever, and employ them for 
the ultimate benefit of the inward life. Religion 
must be expressed as efficient, wisely directed 
service ; and, indeed, the history of every superior 
man and woman illustrates a hitherto ineffectual 
but earnest attempt td ameliorate the social 

Of the separate institutions existing to-day, 
one necessary virtue must be demanded : that 
they benefit the inner life, and not destroy it by 
insistence upon mere material things. The scope 
of their vision must be extended. The State 
which attempts to serve its citizens by resisting 
the needs of other States, really and vitally 
injures the well-being of its citizens, and does not 
at all accomplish the purpose of its own existence. 
Likewise the Church whose code is confined to 
the salvation of its own members, damns those 
members to the very negation of spiritual activity. 
Last of all, institutions must cease splitting up 
acts into " religious " and " secular," and dividing 
man's necessity to be from man's necessity to do. 
In Part VI. this subject will be treated more fully. 


But it is not enough to describe a superior 
social order ; it is not enough even to point out 
the elements existing in the present order from 
which the new order can be constructed. As I 
have tried to emphasize, all social authority and 
power derive from individual consciousness ; and 
hampered as we all are, how can we exert 
sufficient pressure to mould governments and 
Churches to a new form ? The individual citizen 
and the individual Church-member is weak ; it 
would seem that we should have access to some 
force as powerful as life itself to make the task 
possible. If it could be brought about as the 
harvests come by co-operation with Nature we 
might dare believe. What seeds have we whose 
harvest shall be the new social synthesis ? In 
what field, and by what sun and rain will they 
grow and be fruitful ? Let us look more closely 
into the sources of social activity. 

Not the busy efforts of public men, but evolu- 
tion itself, throwing all things into a world- wide 
interminable flux, its momentum derived quite 
apart from human interference, bears the race for- 
ward by its universal gravitation. Even when 
men resist, they and their institutions, ineffectively 
struggling, are swept along from the lesser to the 


greater synthesis, from wasteful and repressive 
division to unity increasingly productive and 
liberating. The force of peoples lies not in their 
troops and taxes, but in their alignment with 
evolution. When evolution has passed the point 
of competing, hostile nations, as it has now passed 
it, our troops and taxes no longer represent nor 
produce power, but weakness. We of to-day are 
no longer defended by our navies ; we are con- 
stantly threatened by them. All this machinery 
of Church and State works against social evolu- 
tion, and therefore expends our time and labour 
for no return. The ship of State is trying to sail 
upstream. But whether we know it or not, like 
it or not, assist it or not, our institutions are 
slipping with the stream toward a new synthesis. 
We have only to discover the true direction of 
social evolution, yield ourselves unreservedly to 
its power, and we shall find ourselves quietly 
arrived among better conditions of life. The 
sublimest social ideal any man is capable of 
imagining is merely the revelation, for the im- 
mediate future, of the direction and force of this 
transcendent power. The greatest man is he who 
avails himself of its activity, deriving his politics 
from the needs and conditions of a people, not 


from his own insinuating egotism. And the 
least of men is he who blindly attempts to resist 
or pervert evolution, whether he be a private 
citizen voting for vicious candidates, or an ex- 
president opposing international arbitration for 
the sake of an absolutely non-existing chimera 
called national honour. Both, to the best of 
their personal ability, are delaying the design of 
the Creator both will fail, but in their attempt 
will drag others down. 

There is no better example of such blindness 
and consequent failure than Napoleon. In him- 
self he possessed a mind supremely directive, a 
will supremely strong, a personality supremely 
able to gather men to his devoted support. In 
France he possessed a people whom centuries of 
accumulating indignation had kindled to the 
point of social fusion. But he knew not the 
direction along which evolution was urging the 
nation ; he threw himself blindly into the uni- 
versal stream and thought to divert its course so 
as to further his personal ambition. His great- 
ness, consequently, dazzles and astounds only 
when compared with common men. He merely 
exaggerated our own selfishness to a colossal 
stature. Compared with the opportunity France 


offered him, he seems a mere puppet, a frantic 
doll thrust out of the game into a corner, his tin 
sword broken, and his bright uniform sadly torn. 
His tragedy is the tragedy inevitable to the per- 
sonality which uses men for self, not for society. 
But we are not thereby compelled to accept the 
traditional " good " man as our ideal. No well- 
meaning Dr. Primrose, but the far-sighted, 
constructive Harriman represents the type to 
which our praise is due ; but the Harriman con- 
scious of his true relationship to society, and by 
that consciousness enabled to make his own 
greatness a social agency beneficial, therefore 
effectual, beyond the maddest dream of the 
ambition exiled upon the prison isle of self. 

Evolutionary also, as we now realize, is that 
other stream of force which rolls through every 
individual, bearing the conscious soul to ever 
broader and deeper states of being. Evolutionary, 
it is impersonal, transcendent, irresistible. All 
the ignorance and malice of which a human soul 
is capable at its worst hour can, by continual 
exertion, merely hold back the individual from 
the universal progression to which humanity was 
dedicated by the fiat of creation. It can merely 
hold back, as a savage can hold his canoe steadfast 


in a swift river it cannot change the course of 
the current nor withdraw itself from the river's 
pressure. All men, at all times, live their lives 
in the full rush of elemental and eternal powers. 
All the unhappiness and ruin implied in sin, that 
word of oldest awe, result from the effort to 
resist, evade, or divert spiritual evolution ; all 
happiness, all power, all harmony, all peace, 
derive automatically from the mere act of yield- 
ing to the inner stream. 

In evolution, therefore, we possess the force 
of nature whose co-operation offers us what 
harvest we will. Our individual characters and 
desires are the seed ; and as the seeds fall so the 
harvest must appear. Undeveloped characters 
and selfish desires were sown for the social order 
we now reap ; but character and desire are under- 
going a tremendous educational process in our 
generation. The immediate task before all men 
and women is to understand for themselves, and 
teach to others, the nature of personal and social 
evolution, and how they are essentially reciprocal. 
For co-operation with evolution is brought about 
by conscious individual adaptation to spiritual 
and social law. The law operates beneficially only 
upon conscious minds. Each man and woman 


comes under the control of spirit when he accepts 
the law ; and society will come under the control 
of evolution when the law is accepted by all 
in common. How, then, to propagate the 
teaching ? The most effective social momentum 
the supreme thrust by which individuals are 
flung forward into a superior social order is that 
derived from the union of statesman and prophet 
in one man. From no other source can the 
world acquire the enthusiastic faith out of which 
unselfish acts are done, and the social vision 
caught and renewed. For the teaching, in other 
words, we must have a divine Teacher. 




A GALILEAN shepherd or fisherman, whom good 
fortune or the sure intuition of divine curiosity 
had permitted to hear the Sermon on the 
Mount, on returning to his neighbours filled 
with intense joy and conviction, might con- 
ceivably have told them of this teaching without 
mentioning the Christ who uttered it ; but how- 
ever thoroughly he understood the new gospel, 
however clearly he repeated it in his native 
village, the completeness and power of his story 
would have been fatally broken without an 
expressed personal attitude toward the Prophet, 
and a lifelong, lifedeep consciousness of the divine- 
human presence. For the Prophet's relation to 
his teaching utterly transcends its mere formula- 
tion into written or spoken words. He is not 
merely the creator of a new body of spiritual 
truth, in the manner that a poet creates a new 
interpretation of life in terms of a dramatic or 



epical reaction. Homer attains personality 
through the Iliad ; Shakespeare's presence de- 
fines itself in the presence of his characters ; but 
a revelation exists only to the extent that its 
Prophet continues to exist in the consciousness 
of men, and apart from his existence in human 
consciousness it has no being. For a revelation 
is essentially personality, human life, character, 
destiny. Printed, it remains only a philosophy 
or dream until, somehow, by an overwhelming, 
passionate desire for spiritual excellence, the 
Prophet Himself is felt as a living, immediate 
presence and being, when the words leap out as 
from moving lips, and become ever afterward 
his words, wherever, however met. No man, 
it can be stated, ever actually found Christ in 
his message, but always his message in the 

The secret of this lies in the fact that the 
spiritual life, as we understand and desire it, is 
Christ. The two have become identified, and in 
the person of the man Jesus the spiritual life has 
its eternal type and reality. The spiritual life, 
we must realize, is the expression of an inner 
activity which renders the individual a perfect 
harmony. All morality, all virtue, all spiritual 


conduct derive from the individual, as leaves 
derive from the activity of a tree. Without the 
inner balance and unity, there can be no morality, 
virtue, nor spiritual conduct, or, as the personality 
is partly and incompletely spiritual, life expresses 
itself in spasmodic and fragmentary morality and 
action. Christ the Prophet, and Christ the 
inner balance, are a perfect whole a man. The 
rest of the world are only parts of a perfect whole 
and fractions of men. But this perfection of 
manhood, the conscious or unconscious passion 
of every life, can never be realized apart from its 
perfect type. Thus, in proportion as men have 
from time to time recovered his presence as an 
actual, palpable existence in their conscious souls, 
they have recovered for themselves the manhood 
he expressed to the world. At other times, 
when the presence is lost, the type of perfect man- 
hood disappears, and men become unable to rise 
above their weak and sundered natures. They 
become desperately virtuous without sympathy, 
moral without joy, or theological without vision 
subject always to disastrous readjustments, 
plunging them into frank bestiality or critical 
atheism. The Prophet, then, has this supremely 
important relationship to the world : he is the 


eternal point of recovery for the vision of self, 
and in the Prophet's station all men exist 
potentially perfect. No other man can effect 
this recovery perfection is unique for the 
civilization it represents and for us, accordingly, 
the ideal of human nature has been for ever set 
apart and sanctified in the person of the Jew, 
Jesus Christ. 

For all that the Prophet was human nature 
made perfect, and for all that men in every age, 
of all classes and kinds, have recovered their own 
innate perfection in him, yet Christianity, as a 
civilization, is completely, conspicuously a failure. 
It has worked out for individuals, but not for 
society. Why should that be ? Why should it 
be that the Church, in the vigour of its youth, 
could not retain its unity, but split into Roman 
and Greek ? Why is it that this Holy Catholic 
Church is neither holy nor catholic ? Why is it 
that under the very shadow of the Cross, the 
national instinct of Europe developed into an 
overwhelming racial egotism and State selfish- 
ness ? While Europeans all professed themselves 
Christians, why did they divide themselves into 
Germans, Italians, French ? Why is the national 
government to-day, even in Catholic countries, 


far stronger and more popular than the ecclesias- 
tical organization? The facile reply to this 
indictment, throwing the fault upon human 
nature itself, or even upon " external irresistible 
forces," involves the deduction that either the 
Christian ideal is essentially impracticable and 
obsolete, or that religion itself really has no con- 
cern with daily life. But Christianity has always 
worked out for individuals, and is still working 
out for individuals with undiminished success. 
It* failure evidently consists in its lack of a social 

Christianity, indeed, as all men dimly recog- 
nize, is religion in terms of the individual, not in 
terms of society. To understand the distinction 
fully, we must go back to Christ's ministry and 
study its method. He met people singly, in 
groups, or in assembled multitudes. But the 
groups and the multitudes were only the in- 
dividual man and woman multiplied. That is, 
the multitude who heard the Sermon on the 
Mount came and heard it in their simple capacity 
of human beings. Like any casual multitude 
which our civilization contributes to a public 
speech or exhibition, they threw aside for the 
time their accidental class distinctions, their 


political opinions and connections, their trades 
and professions, and entered heartily into the 
spirit of the occasion. The same man-to-man 
unity and simplicity takes place to-day, under 
one condition, at every public meeting, whether 
it be the church, the theatre, or the athletic field, 
and that condition is that the occasion offer 
interest enough to divest the individual of his 
accidental social attributes. Christ's conversa- 
tions and addresses offered this interest in the 
most abundant measure. His personality pos- 
sessed, and still possesses, the unique property of 
desocializing the individual and making him, for 
the time being, an elemental and eternal soul. 
He addressed himself to that elemental and 
eternal soul-thing inherent in every man and 
woman, summoning it from its inactive im- 
maturity or controlling it in its often violent and 
misdirected maturity always and for ever devot- 
ing himself to the task of intensifying the 
spiritual activity of men. He found human 
nature a misunderstood, uncorrelated form of 
existence, and he gave our civilization the type 
of personality at its best. But it is only for the 
time that the individual man and woman can be 
desocialized. \Yhen the sermon is spoken, the 


drama played, the multitude separates, each man 
his own way to his own duty. Little by little 
the charm is broken ; slowly but surely the 
fisherman find himself a fisherman once more, 
the banker becomes the banker, the democrat the 
democrat, the philosopher the philosopher, and 
the fool the fool. Within less than a day the 
common social necessity has seized inexorably 
upon each man and woman, and all fall back 
into their former races, classes, occupations, and 

Yet all alike may carry away the Christ-given 
vision of his own perfection with the desire to 
attain that perfection in terms of daily life. But 
what happens ? What did happen, historically ? 
The individual found that the new gospel taught 
him precisely his proper attitude toward every 
other individual, but it said absolutely nothing as 
to his proper attitude toward other men and 
women as society. The Christian thus found, 
and finds to-day, that his religion succeeds 
wherever he deals with individuals, but fails 
wherever he deals with numbers. He is equipped 
to treat properly his father, his mother, his 
brother and sister, his wife, his children, his 
servants, and his neighbours in other words, he 


is equipped for life in the simplest of all societies; 
but in any society even by a little more extended 
and complex, he must depend upon the ex- 
perience of men. That is, he goes to religion to 
solve his personal relations, but he goes to science 
to solve his social relations. When it comes to a 
matter of law-making, the beatitudes are less 
useful than a child's primer of economics ; and 
the Golden Rule is mute in the presence of the 
vote. We have in Christianity, then, a man-to- 
God and a man-to-man revelation, but not a 
man-to-men revelation, by reason of Christ's 
method of ministry. For our modern life, there- 
fore, Christianity is not only incidentally or 
accidentally a failure ; it is inherently, absolutely, 
and permanently a failure. It does not fail to 
work in the same way that a child's tin sword 
would fail to work in a desperate battle it fails 
to work as the microscope fails to work when 
directed against the stars. The focus lies in the 
individual consciousness, while the whole world 
travaileth for a religion whose focus is projected 
into the consciousness of society. 

If any doubt of these conclusions exists, we 
have only to consider the case of Tolstoy. Tolstoy 
was so great a man that by his individual spiritual 


efforts he recovered the soul of a departed age. 
The " Bible times," with their tremendous back- 
ground and atmosphere palpitant with divine 
things, seemed to return as the environment of 
his life, and through one personality to be 
imposed upon our modern civilization. The 
Hebrew tradition, created in the Eden of some 
ancient popular joy, thrust into unhappiness for 
disobedience to the spiritual impulse ; populating 
the earth ; accumulating the dynamic experience 
of Cain, Noah, Abraham, Job ; enriched by the 
visions of Ezekiel and Isaiah ; socialized and 
civilized by the Mosaic law ; consummated in the 
revelations of Christ and Mohammed ; vitalized 
thereby with eternal authority and power, but 
diverted into the consciousness of two hostile 
races ; for us continuing through the Apostles, 
the evangelists, and martyrs, to the doctors and 
mystics of the Roman Church ; broken again 
into two hostile currents by the Reformation ; 
now feebly and ineffectually diffused through 
our social consciousness by the rills of a thousand 
sects that tradition, the world's most imposing 
synthesis of socialized spiritual experience, flashed 
like an archangel's sword in this man's hand, and 
clave in two the rotten shield of civilization. 


He tried the world by the eternal test of 
personal experience, and found beneath its 
heavy vestments a heart dried by grief or fouled 
by joyless passion. He held Europe before the 
divine, searching mirror of the soul, and Europe 
leered back a harlot and a knave. Tolstoy is 
apostolic. Our dialects have no word for him 
we must make use of the speech of peoples 
who walked with God. King David, who 
was also Warrior-David and Poet-David, could 
understand this Russian better than the Russians ; 
Job and St. Peter are nearer akin to his nature 
than his own children. But what was the effect 
upon society of this greatest of Christians ? 
What did the Christian ideal accomplish through 
this best of modern believers ? Tolstoy's influence 
is a ferment whose activity has only just begun. 
Nevertheless, judging his life by its results upon 
social abuse upon the really fundamental, 
inherent injustice of society it is fair to say 
that the governor of Tolstoy's province, or the 
mayor of any western city, could accomplish 
more public benefit in six months than Tolstoy 
brought about in a lifetime. Moreover, the 
governor or mayor could do so without possess- 
ing more than a fraction of Tolstoy's personal 


spirituality, and without paying the penalty of 
his mental pain. Why ? Because the public 
official has under his hands a few levers which 
control the operation of the social machine 
because he can affect a multitude of people of 
both sexes, all ages, classes, religions, intellects, 
and temperaments, without coming into direct 
contact with a single one, or being diverted 
from his purposes by maddening personal 
questions ; while Tolstoy, working apart from 
the social organization, had to influence people 
one by one, through his example, his conversa- 
tion, his literature, and his daily acts. That is, 
he dealt with the world as if it were merely an 
extensive but homogeneous group, like a High- 
land clan or an African village. He used the 
microscope of personal salvation instead of the 
telescope of social salvation. His life, therefore, 
was shut off from all other lives by an invisible 
but impassable line ; he was a lone patriarch, an 
austere apostle moving among his fellow men, 
loving all, consecrated to the service of all, yet 
unable to do more than clothe a few naked, visit 
a few sick, and comfort a few broken-hearted. 

Yet this merely implies inadaptability of the 
Christian revelation to modern conditions ; it 


does not expose any weakness in Christianity 
when working in its own sphere. The micro- 
scope is not to be broken because it will not 
reveal the stars. No. Christianity remains a 
perfect revelation for the personal life. It is 
not an old, romantic dream, a hopeless effort to 
spiritualize men, an almost abandoned faith in 
God and heaven. Nor is religion merely a 
function of primitive races and homogeneous 
peoples, a refuge from the world and a cloistered 
immunity from war, taxes, and children ; but if 
really divine, it is evolutional, and will show 
itself more administrative than government, more 
authoritative than economics. Can it be so ? 

It is very evident that we need a religion in 
terms of society a revelation, that is, which will 
not attempt to displace and deny the essential 
truth of Christianity, but fulfil it for the modern 
world. We need, in other words, the additional 
lens which transforms the microscope into an 
instrument for long distances. This religion 
must not be a new religion, in the sense of being 
an exotic, but a renewal of the existing religions 
and their translation into a modern code and 
gospel. Broadly speaking, it must be an identifi- 
cation of social science with individual initiative 


and spiritual passion. The religious personality 
must express itself socially, in public service, 
allying itself with every available instrument for 
reform. The old passion for self-salvation must 
be recovered, invigorated, and intensified by 
every possible means, but diverted, once for all, 
into the channel of human service. Self-salvation 
as a traditional psychology must be absolutely 
stamped from the human consciousness ; as an 
end for religious organizations it must be fought 
as the true enemy of welfare, the only successful 
opponent of the very self-spiritualization it is 
supposed to bring about. The whole wretched 
tradition of " self " and " heaven " must be re- 
interpreted and re-expressed. From the servant- 
maid who betrays her instincts to a priest lurking 
in his dark confessional, to the Hamlet who 
laments his weakness to the stars, the modern 
world is infected by a diabolical perversion of 
Christ's teaching. Instead of turning inward to 
that fatal misadjustment by which most men and 
women at some period of their lives are rendered 
miserable and erring, instead of magnifying our 
evil by concentrating upon its power to affect our 
lives, we must resolutely turn all hope and 
interest outward, fixing our thoughts on any 


external a friend, a great social movement, or 
God endeavouring by prayer and activity to 
put ourselves into the stream of faith and en- 
thusiasm constantly flowing across the world. 
For the joyous and "free" man that is, the 
man who has found salvation is he whose con- 
sciousness has burst the bonds of self and become 
identified with an outside thing. For him "self" 
no longer exists ; and by entering his new state 
of self-forgetfulness he transfers his spiritual 
habitation, as it were, from a low, mean, smoke - 
oppressed city to the vision-lapped mountain of 

But I need no more than suggest the new 
theology, which has already received the attention 
of modern minds. We are concerned here rather 
with the origins of the religious movement which 
alone can bring about the consummation we have 
learned so devoutly to desire. It exists as the 
best aspiration of earnest men, and as an aspira- 
tion it has long existed. So also the aspiration 
for a divine manhood and womanhood existed in 
the racial consciousness long before the birth of 
Christ. We yearn for a divine social order as 
the Hebrews yearned for a divine personality; 
but our passion is not at all a sign that we have 


transferred our faith from the soul to the machine. 
It indicates, rather, as every man's experience 
too clearly shows, that personality depends vitally 
upon the social environment, and therefore that 
in order to obtain men we must first obtain 
means. An English clergyman voiced the com- 
mon opinion when he said that it is unfair to 
expect a man to meditate on heaven while he 
owes the butcher ; but we must not overlook the 
fact that our civilization renders it equally unfair 
to the butcher. All the prophets since Christ 
and there have been many have pointed the 
popular consciousness toward social salvation ; and 
the popular instinct, sometimes daring to believe 
in the second coming of Christ, believes that His 
modern message will contain hope for this world 
as well as the next. 

At all events, we are certain that religion can- 
not be re-established except through the medium 
of a Prophet, a " Messiah." As all the elements 
that enter into a perfect personality had to be 
united in one being and expressed in one life in 
order to set before every man and woman the 
type of his or her perfection, so must the elements 
of the perfect social order be gathered and 
synthesized in one mind in order to set before 



each social concomitant the type of its own per- 
fection. Before we can accomplish anything with 
village, city, province, and nation, we must know 
what the ideal village, city, province, and nation 
are which in each case involves a knowledge of 
what a perfect humanity would be or, better 
still (since every social organization is in a con- 
tinual state of flux, and perfection in each must 
consist of a sliding scale of efficiency, a balance 
undisturbed by mere change in number of 
population or size of community) better still, 
we must know what each person's attitude and 
course of action must be in order to release the 
evolutional tendencies toward efficiency in the 
social order. For since society is an increasingly 
complex system of men, women, and children, 
its structure automatically undergoes constant 
readjustment to the changing attitude and activ- 
ity of its members. The Prophet of society, 
accordingly, must first possess the divine person- 
ality of the Christ, and then express this 
personality in terms of social unity. That is, he 
must take to himself the relation of all men and 
women to their environments, throughout the 
whole extent of that relation, from its immediate 
contact with the town organization to its remote, 


yet equally important contact with State, with 
other States, and with other races ; and uniting 
all these complex, mutually opposing, and 
stultifying relations into one harmonious syn- 
thesis by the creative vision of his own soul, give 
them all out again to the world as an ideal social 
relationship in which every man, woman, and 
child can find his own proper attitude and activity 
clearly, eternally expressed. And this ideal type 
must be able to serve for every nation alike, every 
race alike, and every religion alike. It must be 
more English than Magna Charta, more Ameri- 
can than the Constitution, more Catholic than 
Catholicism. It must be a universal synthesis, 
that is, to insure the right evolutional adjustment 
in the individual relationship derived therefrom. 
By universal is not meant uniform, but that syn- 
thetic comprehensiveness which permits to every 
personality the sanctity of its differentiation, and 
to every race the sanctity of its peculiar temper- 

The Prophet, then, must be the world's 
saviour ; not the representative of any nation, 
race, or class. He must possess the unimpeach- 
able authority of the divine personality and the 
universal soul. He must actually be that human 


unity of which all other men and women are the 
essential parts. By that power of absolute self- 
effacement which only the Divine Personality 
acquires, he must send out his soul to all 
places and peoples, infusing his divinity like an 
essence throughout the world, gathering as upon 
one sensitive plate the experience of every man 
and woman ; then within his intelligence refin- 
ing from all the ideal, typical experience in 
which we may discover our own lives poten- 
tially perfect. No less a result will serve ; for 
we have already seen how national, racial, 
and ecclesiastical egotism, far from insuring 
superiority or even safety to the nation, the race 
or the religion, necessarily surrounds it with 
implacable foes and an inevitable fate. The 
existence of any social fragment, in other words, 
depends upon the unity and co-operation of the 
whole society. The method by which this 
Prophet would express his message, accord- 
ingly, would differ from the method of Christ. 
Reacting from society as a perfect organization 
instead of from the individual man or woman 
as a perfect personality, he would direct his 
teaching so as to concern our social rather 
than our personal relations. Re-establishing 


the authority of all existing authentic revela- 
tions, he would not be confined to their mere 
repetition nor even to their comparison and 

reconciliation. The modern prophet, therefore, 


on taking up the task differentiating him 
from all previous prophets the task of extend- 
ing Christianity, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, 
Hinduism, to their evolutionally logical consum- 
mation could not secure his purpose by the 
spoken word and the sermon alone. The spoken 
word is limited by the capacity of the hearers 
and the opportunity of the occasion; but the 
written word suffers no limitation, since it is 
available to all men at all times. The Newest 
Testament, that is, would be written by the 
Prophet Himself. 

Without such a Prophet, we know only 
too thoroughly the helplessness of the world. 
Liberalizing influences are everywhere at work, 
but at most these can only raise existing institu- 
tions to a higher efficiency, each within its own 
compass ; they cannot transform the purpose for 
which each institution was originally founded, 
aligning it with the modern vision, nor can they 
co-ordinate them. Only the synthesis of all 
influences into one definite movement can free 


men and women from this tangle of things. 
Yet, as we have seen, the Prophet would bring 
no message essentially new, in the sense that it 
was unheard of. His message would consist of 
all the aspirations of East as well as West, of 
women as well as men. Its newness, therefore, 
would appear in its supreme capacity to assimu- 
late spiritual passion and social science into one 
human synthesis. No man could receive such 
a message and say that he himself had already 
thought and desired its whole content ; yet all 
men could hear it and say that it realized their 
highest personal and social ideal. In him the 
true Christian would be compelled to recognize 
the Christ personality, and in him the atheistic 
humanitarian must acknowledge a social zeal 
and wisdom deeper than his own. Resistance to 
him, and hatred of his followers, could derive 
only from obvious and despicable motives ; pre- 
judice, ignorance, selfishness, snobbery, bigotry. 
Discounting the temporary opposition of privi- 
leged or official cjasses who feared for their own 
private prosperity, we can admit one fertile course 
of obstruction in the very general characteristic 
of men, which after centuries of social de- 
velopment, after we have all learned not too 


grudgingly to share our food, our education, and 
our vote, still makes us painfully loath to share 
our God. 

But this raises the question of the relationship 
between such a prophet and Christ, Mohammed, 
Buddha, and Zoroaster. The orthodox of all 
races believe that God and his Prophet are a 
natural and inalterable duality ; and that the 
existence of any other prophet is a challenge to 
the constancy of the Creator. Very happily, it 
does challenge our conception of His constancy 
as especial consideration for any particular race. 
Each people has had its prophet ; but the 
message of all has been essentially the same the 
possibility of a perfect personality for every man 
and woman. The new prophet would fulfil all the 
prophets accordingly, by his interpretation of per- 
sonality in terms of social service. Once admit- 
ting the existence of an authentic revelation to 
every race, we realize that each people has pro- 
duced not one prophet only, but a succession of 
prophets, the later revealing ever more and loftier 
truth ; and that this fact depends upon a race's 
increasing capacity to absorb teaching. The re- 
lationship of a modern prophet, such as we have 
imagined, to Christ or to Mohammed, may well 


be expressed in the poetic figure of the East, as 
the full moon rising on the fourteenth night, 
which, while the same planet as the new moon, 
can reflect more light than the new moon by 
virtue of its more advantageous position. 

If such a prophet should appear, his effect 
upon the ordinary man and woman would be 
immediate and immense. As religious natures 
who felt sorrow at their inability to become 
more than amateur, occasional, self-conscious, 
and inefficient social workers, he would give 
them an activity which increased their spirituality 
at the same time that it accomplished results in 
human lives ; as practical natures devoted to 
some social or political reform without benefiting 
by spiritual powers in themselves or in others, 
he would set them an ideal which increased 
their public efficiency at the same time that it 
initiated their spiritual evolution ; and as for the 
majority, who are neither very spiritual nor very 
public-minded, he would rouse their lives from 
negative adjustment to environmental pressure 
as by the bugle of defensive war. For his 
supreme influence would consist in restoring the 
individual conscience to its proper relationship 
toward self and others. To those confined in 


the dark prison of sickness or indifference, he 
would fling the keys of joyful, invigorating 
freedom ; and the over- conscientious he would 
release from their atlas-burden of the world's 
wrong. For, after all, the individual is limited 
as to his social usefulness, and consequently as 
to his responsibility. Whatever he can accom- 
plish must be done outside the regular course of 
business, yet inside the compass of the twenty- 
four hours. Yet the new revelation would 
provide him with an attitude which auto- 
matically, by the momentum of social evolution, 
must turn all his activity into public service, 
thus preserving his self-respect without hardening 
his sensibility, and releasing his natural impulses 
toward joy without insulting the unfortunate 
and weak. The ordinary person is not only a 
temperament, which is a limitation in itself, but 
also a member of one class, one nation, one 
religion, and one race. These limitations are 
inherent and eternal, but the new teaching 
would turn the limitation of temperament into 
the opportunity of personality, and would provide 
every social position with a straight path toward 
human unity and co-operation. As every being 
can learn his own perfection in the station of 


Christ, so could the world learn its unity in the 
station of the new prophet ; which once given 
mankind could never be lost, but would serve 
every environment and every age as the point 
of recovery for its perfect relationship to the 
whole human society. 

But now, after dealing with truth in the ideal 
or spiritual world, I shall deal with truth in the 
material or historical world. There are these 
two orders of truth, both eternal and both 
incontrovertible ; as when we say that the pure 
in heart shall see God, arid that Columbus 
discovered America. United, these two orders 
of truth are not only incontrovertible, but 
irresistible ; and it is in the deepest consciousness 
of the import of both words that I tell the life 
and teaching of him whose presence has realized 
for men this new Prophet Baha'o'llah. 



ON beginning a brief history of Baha'o'llah, 1 
suggest that those startling parallels be noted 
which exist between this prophetic manifestation 
and the manifestation of Christ, to secure that 
reverence without which places, people, and even 
events, possess little of their true human value. 
The differences, also, should be remarked no less 
thoughtfully, for there are none without vital and 
logical significance. It requires all our power of 
concentration, comparison, and interpretation to 
enter even partially into this divine life and works. 
As one reads, moreover, passing from one city to 
another, from one date to another, one should 
raise a clear background of daily life and common 
things, to throw into proper relief the Prophet's 
tremendous figure. 

In the year 1819, at Shiraz, Persia, was born 
Mirza Ali Mohammed, the son of a prosperous 
wool merchant. Upon his father's death, the 



child was reared by an uncle, and given the 
education of all Persian boys of his class. At the 
age of twenty-four years, after a youth con- 
spicuous for its reverence and beautiful character, 
he announced to the principal scholars and holy 
men of Persia that he bore a message from God, 
which it was his destiny to give his country. 
The Persia of that time was an autocratic govern- 
ment, from which a great class of public officials 
derived social position and wealth, while inex- 
tricably involved in this political labyrinth ran 
the orthodox Mohammedan faith. The priests, 
or " mullahs," constituted a class as powerful and 
severe as the aristocracy, and the interests of 
both united in supporting religious orthodoxy and 
political inflexibility. At the occasion of his 
public announcement, Mirza Ali Mohammed 
adopted the name of " Bab," which signifies door 
or gate, and by this title has been called ever 
since. His message, which he began to propagate 
immediately, was clear and simple : that the 
Mohammedan religion had been corrupted and 
abused by ignorant, often vicious clergy, and 
must be restored to its original purity ; that the 
Koran was not the final revelation to Moham- 
medans, but preparatory to another and greater 


revelation ; and that after nineteen years would 
appear the Great One, u He whom God would 
make manifest." The Bab taught also the 
spiritual equality of women with men. 

His influence was powerful and immediate, 
creating among the people a spirit of dissatis- 
faction with existing conditions, fomented by a 
new and passionate hope for better. The mullahs, 
alarmed at a movement which impeached their 
infallibility and threatened their supremacy and 
emoluments, intrigued with the official class to 
secure the Bab's imprisonment on the charge 
of hostility to the State religion. After a mock 
trial, this modern John the Baptist was shot 
in a public square at Tabriz, in July, 1850. He 
left eighteen disciples, one of whom, a woman 
called Kurru-t'ul'Ayn (" Consolation of the 
Eyes "), a poet, leader, and teacher, ranks among 
the most powerful personalities of our time. She 
also was executed for the faith two years later. 
In 1852, a young Babi, his mind affected by the 
execution of his master, made an unsupported and 
unauthorized attempt upon the Shah's life. The 
mullahs, who hitherto had been able to prove no 
political connection in the Babi movement, now 
gave it an indelible political complexion, and the 


government transferred to its legal machinery the 
trouble of exterminating the new sect. Leading 
Babis were imprisoned and many prominent men 
executed. Amid the frenzied persecution now 
following, more than 30,000 men, women, and 
children suffered martyrdom. In the worst 
persecutions inflicted upon the early Christians 
we find a parallel, but not a more terrible situation. 
The suddenly awakened inhumanity of the 
orthodox clergy and the official aristocracy, how- 
ever, only emphasizes the stern joy with which 
the Babis met doom. Execution was inflicted in 
the most barbarous manner, and under the most 
heartrending circumstances. It is unnecessary 
to give details here the important fact for us is 
that religious faith, in our own times, once more 
revealed its secret power to triumph over the 
agony of fire and steel, and so to elevate the soul 
that parents could find joy in seeing their children 
slain for the truth of God. 

Among the most influential Babis was Mirza 
Husain Ali Nuri, born at Nur, in Mazandaran, 
on November 12, 1817. His family was 
eminently noble, and had contributed viziers and 
councillors to the royal court. In the natural 
course of events, therefore, this child would have 


become a courtier and official, but from his early 
youth he turned toward his own spiritual de- 
velopment, and refused to enter upon a public 
career. He was imprisoned for four months 
during these persecutions, confined in a dungeon, 
heavily chained to five other Babis. When no 
political conspiracy could be proved in his con- 
duct or implied in his religious convictions, his 
property was confiscated and he himself, with 
his family, banished to Baghdad, beyond the 
Persian border and under the jurisdiction of the 
Sultan of Turkey. A great number of Babis, 
feeling in him the intelligence, sympathy, and 
courage necessary to guide them through such 
trying times, followed with their families in 
voluntary banishment. This took place in 1852. 
The condition of the Babi community on its 
arrival at Baghdad represented economic chaos, 
complicated by the various opinions, social 
positions, and temperaments of the individual 
members. Mirza Ali, however, arranged their 
lives and activities, constructing from these help- 
less but willing emigrants an efficient, happy 
settlement. As soon as the foundations had been 
laid for their order and prosperity, he withdrew 
to the mountains north of Sulaimanziah, where 



for two years he lived in solitude, continually 
meditating and drawing freely from the source of 
all human inspiration and power. His presence 
even there became known, and holy men from 
near and far visited the hermit to discuss spiritual 
problems and experience. After two years, the 
Babi community at Baghdad urgently begged his 
return, as their circumstances had become difficult 
during his absence. Returning to Baghdad, 
Mirza Ali gradually created so prosperous a 
settlement that Babis and others from all parts of 
Asia began to join themselves to the community. 
Their increasing numbers and influence frightened 
the clergy, and the Persian Government treated 
with the Sultan for the surrender of the religious 
leader. Preferring to retain him on Turkish 
territory, the Sultan summoned Mirza Ali to 
Constantinople. Outside Baghdad, on his way 
to Constantinople, he stopped his first day's 
journey at an estate called the " Garden of Riz- 
wan," where he was joined by his followers, 
nearly all having preferred to attend him in his 
new exile. Twelve days were spent in the 
Garden of Rizwan, during which time Mirza Ali 
Nuri, by the authority of his own personality, 
gave an eternal, world-wide significance to this 


religious movement, and transferred its scope 
from Persia and Mohammedanism to humanity 
and religion. In this garden he announced to his 
followers that he was the supreme manifestation 
of God foretold by the Bab, and publicly assumed 
the name of " Baha'o'llah," the Glory of God. 
He commanded the Babis to look no more to 
the Bab for their prophet, but to himself, whose 
revelation would fulfil the Bab's prophecy and 
dissolve their Mohammedan sect in the larger 
synthesis of Bahaism. His announcement in- 
cluded the declaration of the essential unity of 
men, the common bond between the religions, 
and the final reconcilement of Churches and 
States in him. With the consciousness of their 
new human significance, the Bahai exiles pro- 
ceeded on their journey, and arrived at Constan- 
tinople in 1864. 

Their reception by the population was un- 
expectedly friendly. The government placed 
houses at the disposal of Baha'o'llah and his 
family, while the followers found occupations in 
the various bazaars. Converts to the cause were 
made so rapidly that once more the orthodox 
ecclesiastical organization set itself in motion 
against Baha'o'llah, with the result that after 


only four months in the capital, he was trans- 
ferred to Adrianople, on the northern frontiers 
of the Empire. Constantinople, we remember, 
most conspicuously emphasizes the failure of 
Christianity to control the political necessity 
of men. The effect of residence at Adrianople 
was to bring BahaVllah into relationship with 
European civilization, thus uniting his intuitive 
wisdom with that stock of scientific and socio- 
logical experience which so completely differ- 
entiates the personal problem of life in West 
and East. Without this contact and assimila- 
tion, Baha'o'llah's revelation might have re- 
mained Oriental in its statement and expression, 
and, conditioned by the incomplete social ex- 
perience which that implies, might have reached 
our Western consciousness only through the 
medium of an intervening personality a 
St. Paul, that is, whose interpretation would 
have lessened fatally the prophet's power to 
unite. Happily for both hemispheres alike, this 
contact of intuition and social experience did 
take place, and, as a result, Europe and America 
enter equally with the Orient into this prophetic 
station. The most conspicuous public action 
of Baha'o'llah at Adrianople was to send letters 


to the authorities of every Western nation, calling 
for their co-operation in his purpose to unite 
mankind. No one requires to be told how 
negative an effect these letters apparently had 
upon our history. In such a case, however, 
we are not to judge the prophet's seeming 
impotence from the official silence his letters 
received ; we are to judge his authority and 
irresistible power by the increasing development, 
among the people themselves, of the same passion 
for unity and reform. For a prophet is not 
a commander, having armies and treasuries to 
carry out his orders ; he is the expression of 
those very inward impulses which all men will 
learn in themselves to reverence and obey. In 
these letters, moreover, Baha'o'llah uttered pre- 
dictions which make them notable even on the 
material plane. In 1868, for example, he fore- 
told to Napoleon III. the fall of his empire, and 
to the Pope the loss of his temporal power.* A 
cross section of European and American history 
in that year would render the letters their true 
and awful significance as the utterance of the 
world's own conscience, awakening to its de- 

* BahaVllah also foretold the loss of Adrianople to the 
Turks. His imprisonment in that city is most interesting 
to recall at the present time. 


humanizing social conditions. A petty sectarian 
agitation, semi - religious and semi - political, 
aroused by a rival among the Babis, again 
brought the Bahai movement before the political 
authorities, and in 1868 Baha'o'llah's enforced 
pilgrimage began once more, taking him this 
time, with about seventy followers, to the lowest 
and meanest of Turkish penal settlements, the 
prison of Akka in Palestine. 

The instructions concerning their treatment 
sent to the prison officials were most severe. 
For two years these seventy people were con- 
fined in two rooms and allotted an unspeakably 
miserable fare. Severe epidemics broke out 
among them, yet thanks to the common faith, 
the common joy in the midst of desolation, and 
to the devoted nursing given the sick by their 
unstricken fellows, the ill-treatment carried off 
only six members. The ecclesiastical and political 
hatred aroused by the Bahai teaching penetrated 
to the prophet's little company in many forms. 
Their dead were left uncared for among them 
until the burial expenses were paid and repaid 
time and again, and communications made by 
Baha'o'llah to the Sultan, protesting against the 
despicable treatment inflicted upon women and 


children remained undelivered. Yet by the 
uniform kindness and fairness the Bahais dis- 
played toward each other and toward their 
keepers, the military discipline little by little was 
relaxed, and Baha'o'llah was finally permitted to 
take a house in town, though still within the 
fortifications. Even there, however, he was 
confined in one room for seven years. Gradually 
the Bahais were released on parole, and permitted 
to form a settlement of their own in the town. 
The world has no community like the Bahai 
community at Akka. The colony was con- 
tinually recruited from the East, by men whose 
spiritual sympathy drew them to this point and 
centre of religious life. The community, accord- 
ingly, has been composed of individuals belong- 
ing to religions inherently opposed and fanatic, 
to nations and castes historically hostile, to 
environments which had necessitated totally 
different ideas and customs ; but within the new 
spiritual and social synthesis of Bahaism they 
found their interests mutual and interdependent. 
For forty years no judge has had to settle dis- 
putes between them. The American and Euro- 
pean visitors there have found themselves 
surrounded by a truer fraternity, a deeper sym- 


pathy, a more vigorous religious spirit than they 
can experience in their own towns. It is a 
projection of Baha'o'llah's revelation upon the 
actual world. 

From 1869 to 1892, the prophet was chiefly 
concerned with writing his doctrinal works. 
Hitherto, his teaching had spread by means of 
letters written to his distant disciples and to 
those who applied for the resolution of meta- 
physical and ethical problems. From 1869 until 
his death, Baha'o'llah revealed the moral and 
sociological principles which control the world's 
development. Sometimes in the language and 
symbolism of orthodox Christianity or Moham- 
medanism, sometimes in the style of Sufi, or 
free thinker, he brought to light those mysterious 
laws which, hidden from the ordinary being in 
the vast operation of social evolution, contain 
the true and creative relationship of individual 
and society. On May 28, 1892, at the age of 
seventy-five, his work entirely done, Baha'o'llah 
died, in full enjoyment of his powers and faculties 
to the end. It was our own conscience, our 
own aspiration and pure passion for human 
betterment, which those prison walls confined 
and insulted, but could not destroy. 


The confusion, the reaction, and spiritual 
division usually attendant upon a prophet's 
death were in this case happily prevented. 
Baha'o'llah's revelation was literary, not word 
of mouth ; and not only does the written word 
endure, but it remains free from those variations 
of interpretation which memory and changes of 
personal mood inevitably throw upon human 
speech. Moreover, Baha'o'llah possessed a spirit- 
ual as well as natural heir in the person of his 
eldest son Abdul Baha, whom shortly before 
death he had designated the leader of the Bahai 
movement, the " Greatest Branch," who was one 
with himself. This succession was entirely 
spiritual, since not only does the Bahai teaching 
permit no ecclesiastical organization, but Abdul 
Baha was so designated for his power and merit, 
not his relationship. Our historical outline, 
accordingly, continues without interruption down 
the life and activity of Baha'o'llah's son. 

Abdul Baha (" Servant of Baha ") was bom at 
Teheran on May 23, 1844, the day that the Bab 
declared his mission. His personality I can best 
describe by quoting from the work* of a French 

* " The Universal Religion : Bahaism/' by Hippolyte 
Dreyfus. London, 1909. Cope and Fenwick. 


author among the Europeans best informed on 
the whole subject of Bahaism. " He had con- 
stantly been with his father, sharing his suffering 
since earliest childhood, also profiting more than 
all the others by the marvellous power which 
emanated from Baha'o'llah's person. Endowed 
with a captivating charm, with an eloquence 
which made his conversation sought after by his 
most irreducible adversaries, he joined to the in- 
domitable energy inherited from his father quite 
a personal gentleness, combined with that par- 
ticular tact sometimes possessed by Orientals, 
which straightway makes them equal to any 
situation. With the son of Baha'o'llah, these 
qualities, united to the power of self-mastery 
which . . . can alone render us master of others, 
have made of him one of the strongest and at 
the same time most seductive mentalities which 
can be imagined. His unique intelligence is 
capable of seizing at the first glance all the 
aspects of a question, and without hesitation 
seeing its solution ; his heart attracts all the 
disinterested of life, who feel themselves in- 
stinctively drawn towards him." 

After forty years of imprisonment, Abdul 
Baha was released by the action of the Sultan, 


Abdul Hamid, who re-established the Constitu- 
tion of 1876 and freed all the political prisoners 
of the empire. Since Baha'o'llah's death in 
1892, Abdul Baha, the perfect Bahai, has not 
only personified Bahaism as the new relationship 
of man to society, as well as its emphasis of the 
Christian relationship of man to God, but he has 
effectively spread the Bahai message through 
Asia, Europe, and America. 

It is difficult to realize at first how this could 
be done by a prisoner without money, political 
influence, or an ecclesiastical organization. 
Abdul Baha's imprisonment was not like that of 
the "prisoner of the Vatican," it was like the 
apostle's incarceration, whom Heaven itself un- 
chained to promote the divine purpose. Slowly, 
yet effectively, like the movement of a mighty 
glacier down the valley, or like the waves show- 
ing the tide's turning, this revelation went out 
from the dungeon into the eager hearts and 
minds -of men. To Abdul Baha, as to a teacher 
and friend, came men and women from every 
race, religion, and nation, to sit at his table like 
favoured guests, questioning him about the 
social, spiritual, or moral problem each had most 
at heart ; and after a stay lasting from a few 


hours to many months, returning home inspired, 
renewed, and enlightened. The world surely 
never possessed such a guest-house as this. 
Within its doors the rigid castes of India melted 
away, the racial prejudice of Jew, Christian, and 
Mohammedan became less than a memory ; 
every convention save the essential law of warm 
hearts and aspiring minds broke down, banned 
and forbidden by the unifying sympathy of the 
master of the house. It was like a King Arthur 
and the Round Table, to compare it with the 
traditional social ideal best known in our civiliza- 
tion ; but an Arthur who knighted women as 
well as men, and sent them away not with the 
sword, but the Word. A few thousands, per- 
haps, from Europe and America ; a few 
thousands from the East ; but these form a 
company bound by a great enthusiasm, a great 
faith, and a great gratitude. And while the 
visitors were spreading the teaching among 
friends by word of mouth, by pamphlet, by 
volume, Abdul Baha answered the myriad letters 
written by those unable to come. For years he 
has made use of six or more interpreters and 
secretaries, rising soon after midnight to begin 
his long dictation ; holding in his mind, like a 


great chess player, the continuity of many letters, 
addressing now one secretary, now another, 
always responsive to his own inward necessity 
for meditation and prayer. Thus are composed 
the letters "tablets," as they are called among 
the Bahais which have gone out through the 
world, each one containing the solution of a 
personal problem together with a strong impulse 
toward that spiritual activity wherein all personal 
difficulties adjust themselves. In every response, 
Abdul Baha assumes the point of view of his 
correspondent, and employs the religious and 
philosophical terminology most familiar to his en- 
vironment, answering, that is, as the questioner's 
own spirit would answer if it possessed more con- 
scious activity. By his power to penetrate to 
that centre of personality at which every man's 
nature is open to conviction, Abdul Baha treats 
with all men on a plane apart, and convinces 
doubt or removes prejudice by making the mind 
work through to its own solution. 

His life passed in this continually increasing 
activity of speech and correspondence, with 
merely the change from Akka to Haifa and 
from Haifa to Alexandria, until the month of 
August, 1911, when he travelled westward to 


visit London and Paris. He had been officially 
invited to represent the Bahai movement at the 
Universal Races Congress, held at London in 
July, 1911, but was unable to attend. A paper 
on the Bahai revelation, however, written by 
Abdul Baha, was delivered during the session 
devoted to "General Conditions of Progress"; 
and a reviewer afterward pointed out that this 
paper was the only one which presented a 
spiritual solution of racial problems, offering 
spiritual unity as the greatest human ideal, to 
be attained by using economic and political 
factors merely as the means for that end. In all 
other papers these factors were treated as ends 
in themselves. After a short stay at Thonon,* 
on Lake Leman, Abdul Baha continued his 
journey to London, arriving there during the 
first week in September. It is unnecessary to 
detail his manifold activities during the month 
spent there, or during the following months 
spent at Paris. Most conspicuous were his 
meeting with Mr. R. J. Campbell, when both 
men displayed complete sympathy and under- 
standing; his address to Mr. Campbell's con- 
gregation from the pulpit of the People's 

* See Appendix I. 


Temple ; his address to the congregation of 
Archdeacon Wilberforce at St. John's, West- 
minster ; and a breakfast with the Lord Mayor. 
Daily he was visited by scores of men and 
women ; frequent meetings were held at which 
was abundantly released that impelling spirit 
ever felt when religion is realized as a social 
virtue ; and he continued his correspondence 
with Bahais in other countries. The one im- 
portant fact underlying this London visit is that 
all the modern sociological activity expressed by 
the Universal Races Congress, and all the 
modern passion for spiritual being expressed 
by the liberal Christianity of Mr. Campbell, 
Mr. Lewis, and Dr. Orchard, unite once and for 
all in Bahaism and focus perfectly in the person 
of Abdul Baha. In Paris, as would be expected, 
the meetings at his apartment were more cosmo- 
politan, including Hindus, Parsees, Persians, 
Arabs, Germans, Russians, English, French, and 
Americans. As London emphasized the social 
and spiritual aspects of Bahaism, so Paris 
revealed its intellectual content and unparalleled 
power of definition. It is this inclusiveness, of 
course, this sheer synthetic impulse vibrating 
from the Bahai teaching which enables Abdul 


Baha to speak with equal authority to members 
of the French Academy and the Sorbonne 
Faculty as to an inter-racial congress, or the 
congregation of an active Christian church. 
After meeting more than one hundred and fifty 
persons daily for two months, besides lecturing 
before the Theosophical Society, at the Union 
des Spiritualistes, and at Pasteur Wagner's 
Church, he returned to Egypt in December, 
1911, promising to spend the following year in 
travel throughout the United States. 

Meanwhile the Persian- American Educational 
Society, founded at Washington, D.C., as the 
result of Bahai influence to bring about closer 
and more sympathetic relations between East 
and West, made every effort to give this journey 
a deep and widespread effect. When Abdul 
Baha arrived at New York in April, 1912, more 
than thirty public addresses had already been 
arranged for various cities throughout the Union. 
The first speech was delivered at the Church of 
the Ascension at New York City, and inspired 
a series of favourable articles in the metropolitan 
press. From New York he proceeded to Wash- 
ington, from thence to Chicago, and during the 
following seven months visited a score of cities 


from coast to coast. At one centre he gave the 
Message to a slum audience ; at another he spoke 
on equal suffrage before a national meeting of 
the Daughters of the American Revolution ; at a 
third interpreted the real meaning of the coming 
of Christ to the congregation of a Jewish syna- 
gogue. He spoke on peace to the New York 
Peace Society, on international arbitration at 
the Lake Mohonk Conference, on the philosophy 
of religion to New Thought Clubs. To Free- 
masons, University students, Esperantists, Mor- 
mons, he made addresses suited to the audience 
and the occasion, using each meeting as a local 
fulcrum to further the universal cause. Among 
the incidents standing out in deeper relief are 
the laying of the cornerstone for the Bahai 
Temple of Unity at Chicago, and a visit made 
to Mr. W. J. Bryan, the present Secretary of 
State, at Lincoln, Nebraska, returning the visit 
Mr. Bryan paid Abdul Baha in Akka during 
the former's journey around the world. It is a 
matter of record that the Secretary afterwards 
wrote that the Bahai Movement is the only 
power able to revive the Islamic world, little 
imagining how soon that power would penetrate 

his own civilization. 



On December 5 Abdul Baha sailed for 
England, where he passed six weeks in London, 
Liverpool, and Edinburgh. After two months 
in Paris, spent as before in daily interviews and 
conferences, he proceeded to Stuttgart, and held 
a number of very successful meetings among the 
loyal Bahais of Germany ; thence to Buda Pesth 
and Vienna, founding new centres in these places. 
During May, 1913, he will return to his home at 
Haifa, to leave it, in all probability, no more. 
Future historians will give Abdul Baha's journey 
the detail and the reflection it deserves ; but a 
mere outline, in relation to the preceding study, 
reveals even now something of its unique im- 
portance. " Ambassador to Humanity " was the 
expression used by one present at an address in 
Washington, and this title is perhaps as descrip- 
tive as any to hand. But how different the 
mission, how different the method, how dif- 
ferent the man ! If any generation could dis- 
tinguish out, while still living, the nature most 
richly and most potently endowed with its best 
forces, ours has that privilege. In Abdul Baha 
we have a mirror focusing all that is most signifi- 
cant, suppressing all that is irrelevant, of our time. 
Thus briefly I have traced the Bahai revela- 


tion from its origin in the prophecy of the Bab, 
its manifestation by the Prophet Baha'o'llah, 
through its propagation by Abdul Baha. Baha- 
ism is now by no means confined to one 
personality or one region. The relation of 
the local reform movement in Persia to this 
world -wide teaching is simply that of the 
bent bow, which shoots abroad the penetrating 
arrow of truth. A cross-section of the human 
tree, tentatively made on May 1, 1913, shows 
that the Bahai influence has been felt in all the 
chief branches. The result of such an analysis 
will be approximate only, since the Bahais 
possess no ecclesiastical organization, and have no 
desire for census and display. Persia itself, to its 
eternal credit, contains more than a million 
believers. Adherence to the cause nowhere else 
implies so much courage and steadfastness. 
Though tolerating neither priesthood nor ecclesi- 
asticism, the Bahai revelation makes ample 
provision for social control of its teaching. For 
every city it defines a special organization to 
unite the followers, instruct them in practical 
social work, concentrate their activity, and renew 
their vision. A typical Bahai assembly, then, 
consists of a House of Justice a body of nine 


men, elected by men and women alike, to counsel 
and advise in all matters of doubt and urgency 
a reading-room, open to the public, contain- 
ing the works of Baha'o'llah, Abdul Baha, and 
literature relating to the cause ; classes of 
instruction, held freely for all desiring to learn 
the meaning and importance of this revelation ; 
meetings for Bahais, at which are read tablets 
from Abdul Baha, new Bahai literature, com- 
munications from other assemblies, and at which 
speeches are delivered, especially by Bahai 
travellers; and finally those meetings the 
essential Bahai religious service where are read 
the words of Baha'o'llah. No order nor precedent 
between persons or the sexes is observed, and 
the Bahai services resemble those of the Quakers 
more than any other religious gathering known 
to our environment. The cause is propagated 
in the natural manner, by those who are moved 
to serve by their own impulse. Baha'o'llah 
taught the spiritual responsibility of every being, 
which renders the intervention of a paid mediating 
clergy not only unnecessary and impertinent, but 
essentially corruptive ; and he taught that every 
man and woman, becoming filled by true faith 
and love, are naturally empowered to communi- 


cate their new being to others ; and that every 
type, class, and environment, can only be reached 
by its own kind. Every man carries within him 
the seeds of his own springtime ; and every 
environment contains all the tools required for 
its own reform. In the case of both individuals 
and environments, the outside world can only 
provide the essential preliminary instruction. 

Such assemblies or centres, deviating from 
type according to local circumstances, exist in 
great numbers throughout Persia, Southern 
Russia, India, Burma, and Egypt, where their 
membership includes every class, people, and 
sect. In the West, Bahai centres have been 
established in Germany, France, and England, 
with unorganized but increasing sentiment in 
Italy and Russia; while in America, as the 
history of the development of religious freedom 
would have foretold, Bahaism is especially strong. 
No other race has evolved so far from the 
deadening influence of dogma and orthodoxy, 
thanks to the westward impulse of popular 
liberty ; yet, on the other hand, no people have 
so completely lost the clue to mysticism and 
personal religious vision. Opportunity and need, 
therefore, meet in particularly close contact 


throughout the United States and Canada the 
rapid spread of the Bahai teaching proves its 
capacity to satisfy the Western hunger for the 
spiritual life. In the United States more than 
thirty cities possess assemblies, and a constant 
stream of liberalizing and invigorating thought 
circulates from city to city and from State to 
State. To summarize, we find that Bahaism has 
taken active root from California eastward to 
Japan, and from Edinburgh south to Cape Town. 
Considering the ties which bind all the 
assemblies into one firm and devoted cause, 
we realize that they are not ecclesiastical, like 
those which enclose Catholic parishes within one 
empire of religious absolutism, neither are they 
ritualistic, like the Masonic fraternity, but in the 
fullest sense of the word they are social, includ- 
ing both political and spiritual necessities. Each 
assembly, that is, constitutes a centre where 
men and women engage actively in releasing 
the sociological forces which tend to unite 
nations, races, and religions into one humanity, 
and by learning to serve evolution they are 
hastening the divine civilization of the world. 
For Bahaism is not an isolated social fragment, 
badly adjusted to the myriad fragments pulling 


mankind in every direction at once; it is a 
ferment actively at work within the fragments 
themselves, the expression of our modern passion 
for unity and reform. Every assembly is like an 
atlas, which in little space represents the world. 

The question arises whether, since the Bahai 
revelation excludes a clergy, it thereby excludes 
the Church. That an inspiring Church can 
exist without priesthood we know from the 
experience of the Quakers ; and from their 
history also we know that a Church of some 
kind is a positive necessity to secure communal 
firmness and power. Realizing all the advan- 
tages the Church offers its people, Baha'ollah 
left full instructions for the foundation of a 
temple in every community. The idea under- 
lying the Bahai temple is so simple, yet so pro- 
found, that well-informed readers will at once 
perceive that the temple, like every other mani- 
festation of the Bahai teaching, represents the 
climax of a social evolution perceptible in every 
phase of contemporary thought. In the beau- 
tiful Persian imagery, which even translation 
cannot obscure, Baha'ollah named this temple 
the Mashrah - el - Azkar (" Dawning-place of 
Prayer"). The building itself is a nine-sided 


structure, surmounted by a lofty dome, and 
enclosed by gardens. The place of worship 
occupies the heart of the temple, underneath 
the dome, and is to be open at all hours, to 
all people, for meditation and silent prayer. The 
holy words of Baha'o'llah are chanted at intervals, 
but no other form of worship, and no more 
extensive ritual is permitted. About the hall 
of worship are grouped various institutions of 
public service, all an integral part of the temple. 
These consist of a college, a hospital, a hospice, 
and other organizations of public social benefit. 
The inner significance of such a temple can be 
gratefully appreciated by all. It means, first, 
the recovery and development of spiritual 
activity by the individual man and woman, 
independent of the traditional tyrannies of priest, 
Church, or book ; it means, next, the translation 
of personal holiness and aspiration into social 
service, the instruction and participation of men 
and women in the common task of reform the 
union, that is to say, after their long estrange- 
ment, of Church and State, upon the basis of true 

A temple completely carrying out these ideas 
has recently been erected at Echkabad, in Russian 


Turkistan. In the West, Bahai activity has 
concentrated upon the construction of a similar 
holy place in Chicago. At the date of writing, 
a site has been secured overlooking Lake 
Michigan, and preliminary work is going for- 
ward upon the grounds. Once again, as in 
estimating the power of the Bahai revelation 
by the reception officially accorded Baha'o'llah's 
proclamation to the governments in 1868, we 
must not consider the material, but the spiritual 
content for our standard of judgment. It means 
nothing derogatory to the cause, therefore, that 
this temple has not arisen with the inconsequential 
ease of a Carnegie Library. On the contrary, 
we are forced to realize how relatively little con- 
trol the Western conscience has retained upon its 
economic activity, and gratefully acknowledge 
the presence of even so much disinterestedness 
in our civilization. It is a matter for public 
record that the Bahai temple at Chicago has 
received the first contribution ever made by the 
East to a Western activity ; and no thoughtful 
man or woman need be told that by its con- 
struction will be released a uniting and creative 
social force such as flows from no other institution 
of our time. 



BAHAISM, then, is a religious movement ; but it 
cannot be compared with any previous move- 
ment, either in its purpose, its method, or its 
result. It had a local origin in Mohammedan 
Persia ; it was a reaction, first of all, against an 
immediate condition ; and in so much it is like 
other religious movements like Luther's Re- 
formation, for example. But if we once perceive 
the essential difference between Bahaism and the 
Reformation, in purpose, method, and results, we 
shall have entered into the very heart of this 
modern revelation. The Protestant Reformation 
implied the breaking away from an old order and 
the setting up of a new. The old order, however, 
had enough both of truth and vitality to persist, 
with the result that Europe is divided into two 
hostile religions. No man can be both Catholic 
and Protestant without withdrawing from both 



organizations and, for all practicable social pur- 
poses, becoming neither Protestant nor Catholic. 
This alternative, then, is presented to every man: 
that he must accept one Church and consequently 
reject the other, or reject both and consequently 
lose all the advantages of co-operation with 
men. The alternative is hateful, vicious, and 
destructive, for it prevents society from enjoying 
the advantages of a united Church, and the 
individual from sharing in that deeper and more 
valuable truth which is now broken and divided 
into two ineffective parts ; yet the alternative 
is as inevitable as it is hateful, and no man 
can elect a compromise and retain his religion on 
a social basis. 

If Bahaism represented any such tendency 
toward disruption and division, it would be no 
more than another sect struggling for existence 
and survival in the merciless jungle of society ; 
but its purpose and method of operation combine 
to render further disintegration impossible. Its 
purpose is to effect the complete ultimate re- 
conciliation of every existing social fragment, 
both religious and political, and its method of 
operation consists in taking its stand within the 
institution, not outside, and pointing out the true 


road of development along which the institution, 
by its own doctrines, if religious, or responsibility, 
if political, is committed to go. It is, therefore, 
not hostile to any creed, sect, or nation ; but is 
hostile only to that fatal prejudice, bigotry, and 
blindness which prevent creeds, sects, and nations 
from realizing the purpose of their own origin. 
Bahaism is not the enemy of any Church, for its 
ideal of human unity and co-operation places its 
hostages in every race, Church, and nation on 
earth ; but Bahaism is the determined and en- 
lightened foe of anti-evolutional forces. This 
must be understood first of all. To the Christian, 
accordingly, the Bahai teaching brings an obliga- 
tion to remain within the Church and to obey 
more fully, not less fully, the Gospel of Christ. 
But it does not leave him the same man as he 
was. It reinterprets the Christian mysteries and 
morals in the light of evolution and unity. The 
eternal virtue love, for example it strips of its 
local and confining manifestation, showing how 
that form of spiritual activity cannot be directed 
to members of one class, Church, or race alone, 
but must be directed to all men in equal measure. 
The existing religious situation attempts to con- 
fine eternal forces to narrow social areas ; but 


Bahaism breaks down the frontiers that cut off 
one area from another. 

The Bahai teaching has what may be termed 
three moralities. It has, first, a personal morality, 
then a morality for institutions, and last of all 
a morality for society as a whole. We may take 
up these moralities (or, rather, these three ex- 
pressions of the same morality) one by one. 


We might define the Bahai teaching as to the 
personal life by stating that it is the Christian 
ideal, emphasized and vitalized by the purity of 
another prophet's vision ; but this would neces- 
sitate a common agreement as to what Christian- 
ity really is. We have too many kinds of 
Christianity, unfortunately, to trust the general 
opinion on this matter ; yet beyond and outside 
the traditional Churches there exists a very en- 
lightened attitude, which represents the modern 
social conscience. 

Bahaism insists upon the sanctity of the in- 
dividual, the personal right and duty to disallow 
any vicarious spiritual agency. Each man and 
woman constitutes a divine creation, and possesses 
a potential worth not impeached, denied, nor 


humbled by that of any other human being. 
Self-expression, accordingly, represents the su- 
preme obligation and privilege ; and God has not 
given His precious marble of opportunity to the 
Michael Angelo alone. Life offers every person- 
ality the means of beautiful expression, in noble 
conduct, great thought, or inspiring art. In this 
individual potentiality and impulse toward self-ex- 
pression, all men are created free and equal. It is 
not too much to aver that the greater the mind and 
spirit, the greater the tendency to respect and 
admire other personalities, however they may be 
rated by the world ; and the inability to recognize 
a transcendent and incomparable possibility in 
every person, must be accepted as the stigma of 
spiritual insufficiency. Those distinctions, classifi- 
cations, and judgments which separate society into 
unsympathetic fragments, proceed from the in- 
tellect alone ; but intellect itself, when enlightened 
and vitalized by spirit, gladly perceives and adores 
the personality latent within all. 

Upon the individual, then, Bahaism enjoins 
his spiritual development as the purpose, and 
hence the supreme obligation, of life. For 
Baha'o'llah, also, came not to destroy but to 
fulfil; and while his life is a scourge terribly 


uplifted against those who pollute the temple, 
the essential redemptory spirit of religion, as 
contained in pure Christianity, he reveals anew, 
with added intensity and clearness. Bahaism 
teaches that without spiritual activity all personal 
and social effort is sterile or self-destructive. 
Legislation not derived from religious vision, 
laws unfounded upon unselfish wisdom, merely 
obstruct our social evolution, and must be revised 
continually at uncountable vexation and expense. 
In his private life, moreover, the individual meets 
with ultimate failure if his physical and intellect- 
ual faculties are uncontrolled by the conscious 
soul. The brute-world of mere flesh and blood, 
and the intellectual world of mere atheism, how- 
ever brilliant and effective they may appear, 
have upon the spiritual plane no reality, and 
hence neither significance nor permanence. 
Body and mind serve only as environment 
agencies to soul, which has no need of them 
beyond this life. The immortality of soul and 
the omnipotent love of God constitute the 
foundations of the Bahai theology. Inasmuch 
as health and education affect the soul's useful- 
ness and power of development, they must be 
sought, in their highest possible state, by every 


man and woman. Spirituality without physical 
or intellectual force is like the swordless warrior 
or a light without atmosphere. All that is 
requisite for self-development must be obtained 
and made use of. There is no essential virtue in 
poverty the rich man who employs his resources 
for health, education, and cultivation through 
travel and the intercourse which leisure makes 
possible, so long as he submits his talents to the 
directing control of spiritual activity, receives 
the assurance of Bahaism that his life is lived 
wisely and well. For society may confidently 
reckon upon this fact, that when the soul 
assumes authority over any human being, his 
personality and social advantages will thence- 
forth be put to public service. The greater he 
is in himself, and the richer he is in the world, 
the more power and responsibility accrue to the 
disposal of evolution. The point at which 
wealth either stupefies the soul or ceases to be 
serviceable to its needs, must be determined by 
the individual. Here again may society take 
confidence ; for the soul that once awakens to 
self- consciousness will feel more concern over its 
material possession than even the bitterest 
Socialist. The other point, the point at which 



poverty deprives the man of opportunity and 
influence, this point, also, must be determined 
each for himself. 

The phenomenon underlying these facts is 
that spiritual activity transfers the centre of con- 
sciousness from self- that is, from the empire of 
body and mind, to an outside point. This 
transfer automatically changes egoism into ser- 
vice, releasing the world-old human passion for 
self-preservation and happiness, and turning its 
power along unselfish channels. The Bahai 
teaching, therefore, in its reference to the 
personal relationships of life, only defines and 
explains the operation of spiritual evolution. 
Authorized by its truth to eternal forces it 
demands, on the part of the believer, the utmost 
sympathy for others. It is for no man or 
woman to insult and despise the creations of 
Almighty God. The sanctity of the individual, 
as a spiritual fact, has its obvious counterpart 
in daily life, since, as we have already seen, 
the wretched maladjustments of our political and 
economic necessity derive directly from the 
mutual prejudice or indifference of men. 

Bahaism is equally explicit concerning the 
relationship of the individual to society. He 


must sunder every tie inherently selfish, de- 
structive, or useless ; but he must bring new 
enthusiasm and faith to every necessary or con- 
structive relationship, and to existing responsi- 
bilities bring a deeper vision of their significance. 
He must not withdraw from present religious 
organizations, but reinterpreting their function 
in the light of evolution, endeavour to vitalize 
their activity, and remove the prejudice and 
ignorance walling them off from the social unity. 
As a citizen, he is bound to obey the laws of 
his country, whether just or foolish, labouring 
always, by constitutional means, to align the 
civil organization with creative forces and social 
evolution. He must labour to unite minor 
organizations in order to make them effective ; 
and to transfer the circumference of social con- 
sciousness from the city to the province, the 
province to the State, the State to the continent, 
and from the continent to the world. To render 
himself effective, he must study the social 
problem through the most advanced ideas in 
science, economics, and government ; and no 
duty is so important for the believer as to create 
for his own mind a living, passionate social ideal 
a picture of the divine civilization described 


by Baha'o'llah and Abdul Baha toward which 
his purpose may direct its activity, and from 
which his will may be strengthened and revived. 


Ethics have progressed steadily in modern 
times from personal morality to morality on a 
larger scale. With increasing resentment men 
perceive the futility of private morality, main- 
tained under terrible pressure, allied with frank 
immorality on the part of institutions. Honesty 
in Church members represents a spectacle of 
tragic ludicrousness, when the Churches are 
guilty of dishonesty as institutions. What avail, 
likewise, is peaceableness in citizens if nations 
cannot refrain from war? If Bahaism were 
confined to mere personal problems, it would for 
the most part be offering kindergarten instruction 
to grown men; for the ideal of personal virtue 
has become our racial inheritance, and has passed 
into our unconscious natures as a continual 
impulse ; while the failure to achieve personal 
integrity reveals an unfavourable social environ- 
ment, not an unwilling or untaught individual. 

The Bahai teaching, then, takes up the more 
pressing moral problem, and directs itself to a 


great extent toward the larger social unit, the 
institution. Social ethics possess the same 
foundation as personal morality enlightened 
self-interest. Its method is to re-direct the 
instinct of self-preservation, which is as strong 
in institutions as in individuals. Every religious 
and political unit, in fighting desperately for its 
own maintenance and prosperity, insures a hostile 
reaction from all the rest of society. The bow 
and arrows which involve continual danger are 
no longer carried by the individual, but by the 
institution. Bahaism makes the same appeal to 
the institution that Christ made to the man to 
drop its offensive and defensive weapons, and 
entertain absolutely no thought of itself. Let 
Churches exert themselves to assist the religious 
life in men and women, without any effort to 
stamp that religious life with the parochial and 
sectarian label. It is not enough to be a 
Protestant one must be a Christian ; and it is 
not enough to be a Christian one must be a 
religious man or woman, unlabelled, unconfined. 
The unselfish attitude toward society insures a 
creative and co-operative reaction from every 
other social unit. No man except the outlaw 
plots against the unarmed man ; no institution 


except the outlawed institution plots against 
the organization whose purpose and activity 
is inherently and wholly expressed in human 
service. The Red Cross Society and the Salva- 
tion Army, hospitably received by every civilized 
nation, prove this point. 

The political units are controlled by the same 
laws. Fortified frontiers insure hostility and 
danger from the world ; international peace 
insures co-operation. Unlike the Churches, 
however, the nations are justified in maintaining 
the machinery of defence until disarmament has 
become a general movement. Our most power- 
ful social forces, fortunately, are already devoted 
to disarmament as an international ethic ; and 
the Bahai teaching assists such efforts by its 
unparalleled effectiveness in presenting the solu- 
tion clearly and irresistibly, and in uniting under 
one head the yet unco-ordinated institutions 
reflecting the common desire. 

To sum up what I have termed its morality 
for institutions, Bahaism teaches that the pros- 
perity and permanence of any religious or 
political organization is not the end for our 
personal loyalty; that we should be indifferent 
to the welfare of mere institutions, creeds, stone 


walls, and iron conventions ; but that our most 
vigorous and devoted loyalty belongs to the 
cause of humanity as represented by the needs 
of every environment. We owe a kind of 
loyalty, then, to institutions ; but only to the 
extent to which they serve men and women. 
To selfish institutions, to outworn organizations, 
we owe no loyalty ; but must learn to distinguish 
between the constructive and the obstructive, 
and resolutely leave the dead to bury their dead. 


The Bahai teaching goes far beyond the code 
of ethics already formulated by our civilization. 
Did its message stop here, it would have value, 
and great value, by aligning the religious impulse 
with the most advanced social morality ; but it 
would not merit consideration as the modern 
revelation. Its claim to this all-important title is 
based upon the morality Baha'o'llah formulated 
for society as a whole. 

The advance toward civilization is marked by 
the ever-expanding field of consciousness set up 
in the average mind. The frontiers of morality 
are not bounded by the amount of possible good 
or evil in men, but by the area included within 


the daily workings of intelligence. This fact 
should be realized to its full value, for without 
social consciousness the consciousness, that is, 
whose visible expression is law, as the visible 
expression of personal consciousness is character 
there can be no more community between men 
than the interminable and paralyzing hostility of 
rank vegetation in a jungle. This area can be 
increased in two directions, by intensifying the 
individual's consciousness of his own soul, and 
by enriching his consciousness of other lives and 
other environments. In the past, religion took 
upon itself only the first method, which operating 
by itself isolates men by situating each one in 
a Holy of Holies. Most social forces are now 
working in the other direction, and the modern 
world brings the greater pressure to develop our 
social rather than our personal consciousness. 
While social consciousness, however, was con- 
fined to the individual's immediate environment, 
none of the disastrous effects caused by mere 
personal morality were apparent, and ethics 
accordingly remained limited and confined. 
Probably the greatest force available to pierce 
the social consciousness and reveal the play of 
society on a larger scale has been the Church. 


The Church, however, broke through the frontiers 
of experience in only one direction ; and while 
teaching a broader morality, which linked men of 
the same faith in widely different environments, 
it set up even stricter boundaries than before 
between men of different faith living in the same 
environment. The civilizing work, however, 
was initiated ; men began to think in terms of 
more than one environment ; and nationalization, 
that social force alone surpassing the ecclesiastical 
influence, operated in a manner tending to shatter 
the localizing frontiers flung up by the Church. 
Our experience, that is, learned clearly that men 
of the same natural geographical or racial division 
owe a loyalty to that division, transcending 
religious considerations, under constraint of the 
common necessity for self-defence. Thus men 
were compelled to realize, in times of crisis, that 
the social area created by Christianity was not 
inclusive enough to permit the establishment and 
maintenance of the necessary political machinery. 
The army, accordingly, served to introduce into 
our racial consciousness just those elements of 
experience which the Church would willingly 
have destroyed ; and the continual stress exerted 
by the inevitable rivalry of these two civilizing 


agencies has given the modern man a social 
consciousness whose area increases yearly with 
tremendous velocity, yet which is still broken in 
two by a certain loyalty to the contradictory 
claims of Church and State. 

Yet the point has been reached where the evil 
effects of institutional immorality are more and 
more painfully felt in our daily life, and where 
the correspondence between personal morality, 
as formulated by Christ, and social necessity, 
as being formulated by economics, is declaring 
itself to all. At this transitional condition, the 
Bahai teaching offers, fully developed, that 
universal social consciousness in which a new 
social morality can develop. To enter into the 
revelation of Baha'o'llah is to discard for ever 
the old parochial consciousness and absorb a 
consciousness race-wide and world-deep. In this 
field of experience the last conflicting element 
is done away. Co-operation displaces com- 
petition, and the eternal impulse toward love 
is supplied its ethical definition in the modern 
ideal of unity. Baha'o'llah created a common 
circumference for the local consciousness of 
every nation, race, and religion. He created 
the experience whose visible expression is a self- 


conscious human society. For the first time, 
men from every environment can enter into one 
faith and identify themselves with a movement 
including all men and women. 

Hand in hand with its self-consciousness goes 
the new social morality. With experience is 
born responsibility, and the practical form our 
common responsibility must take is stated in 
Baha'ollah's works. Every step from the present 
competitive order to the future order of co-opera- 
tion has been provided for ; existing institutions 
and actual tendencies are merely employed with 
one conscious purpose, and no man is precipitated 
over the edge of an ideal impossible to realize 
in daily life. The supreme manifestation of 
social morality is always government, and in 
formulating a politic, Baha'o'llah most clearly 
earned our reverence as the prophet of modern 

By uniting the aristocratic spirit with the 
democratic form of government, he insured a 
politic at once equable and effective. It was 
long ago realized by Western historians that 
under a democratic State, inspired by the aristo- 
cratic spirit, society has revealed its noblest 
attributes. Democracy alone tends to vulgarize 


personal values, as the United States proves, 
while aristocracy alone tends not only to oppress 
the productive classes, but to sterilize the ruling 
caste itself. The principle of representation 
insures justice to each and to all, and likewise 
the personal authority of superior men insures 
the precious leaven of magnanimity and idealism. 
Universal suffrage and personal superiority meet 
in the Bahai House of Justice. Every town 
elects as its local House of Justice the nine men 
best qualified for legislative, judicial, and execu- 
tive labour. The government of the county or 
province will be administered by a county or 
provincial House of Justice, and a national 
House of Justice, composed of abler men as 
its scope of operation increases, will preside over 
the State, with an international House of Justice, 
most important of all, to act upon those increas- 
ing problems which transcend the function of the 
national government. The House of Justice, 
indeed, whether intended for town or State, 
represents the outcome of our present political 
evolution, and BahaVllah has only defined and 
sanctified for men the idea already strongly 
though bewilderingly felt, that senates and parlia- 
ments are breaking down under the pressure 


of modern social necessity, and that public con- 
trol is best secured by board or commission 

In the flux of social evolution, while popula- 
tions, environments, and institutions continually 
change, there exists only one steadfast and 
enduring point of contact between the individual 
man and woman, and this impersonal, irresistible 
force we call society. This point is not the 
institution, whether political or religious, for the 
introduction of new economic factors into the 
social stream during every generation necessitates 
a new personal need, and consequently a new 
balance of forces. The institution is too in- 
elastic ; it imprisons our growth as much as it 
benefits us. The one factor which is both 
permanent and elastic is office, and the supreme 
adequacy represented by the Bahai House of 
Justice cannot be realized until this fact is under- 
stood. Political divisions change, but humanity 
remains, and the link between the generations 
is maintained only by the integrity and respon- 
sibility of public office. Office transcends the 
individual, yet when properly established it uses 
him to the full extent of his ability. Authority, 
therefore, which is the most important attribute 


in the possession of society, must be intelligently 
spent, for an adequate return, by each genera- 
tion, and the election of superior men, to offices 
whose integrity is a matter of universal concern, 
insures vitality in government, and consequently 
a social morality which shall invigorate the 

Bahaism desires a new social order in which 
the development of spiritualized men and women 
shall be the primary purpose ; not supermen, 
whose nature is essentially hostile to the many, 
but that order of free beings representing our 
own ideals achieved in daily life and common 
things. To such an order we already potentially 
belong, and the highest human fellowship the 
earth will ever contain will not be otherwise 
than our own kind, released and inspired by 
participation in a co-operative society. 

This summary of the Bahai teaching is 
altogether too brief, yet in a work designed 
only to draw lines of connection between the 
present political and religious situation and this 
divine revelation, I have succeeded, I hope, in 
preparing the mind for a sympathetic study of 
its rich and fruitful message, and in offering an 
outline to be filled in by further investigation. 


The Bahai attitude is so creative that proofs of 
its teaching are visible everywhere in the activity 
of men. A special literature, however, is acces- 
sible, and I have prepared a bibliography, given 
as Appendix III., which may advantageously be 
followed, both in its sequence and extent, with a 
briefer list of references for those who desire the 
essential facts without their historical, philo- 
sophical, and religious background. 




" ABDUL BAHA at Thonon, on Lake Leman !" This un- 
expected news, telegraphed through the courtesy of 
M. Dreyfus, brought my wife and me to the determination 
we had long agreed upon of making a pilgrimage to the 
Master at our earliest opportunity. With only a few days 
intervening before his journey to London, we set out 
immediately from our home in Siena, and arrived at 
Thonon in the afternoon of August 29. Prepared in some 
measure for the meeting by the noble mountain scenery 
through which we had passed, we approached the hotel 
feeling ourselves strangely aloof from the tourist world. If 
I could but look upon Abdul Baha from a distance I con- 
sidered that I should fulfil a pilgrim's most earnest desire. 
The Hotel du Pare lies in the midst of sweeping lawns. 
Groups of people were walking quietly about under the 
trees or seated at small tables in the open air. An 
orchestra played from a near-by pavilion. My wife caught 
sight of M. Dreyfus conversing with others, and pressed 
my arm. I looked up quickly. M. Dreyfus had recog- 
nized us at the same time, and as the party rose I saw 
among them a stately old man, robed in a cream-coloured 
gown, his white hair and beard shining in the sun. He 
displayed a beauty of stature, an inevitable harmony of 
attitude and dress I had never seen nor thought of in men. 



Without having ever visualized the Master, I knew that 
this was he. My whole body underwent a shock. My 
heart leaped, my knees weakened, a thrill of acute, recep- 
tive feeling flowed from head to foot. I seemed to have 
turned into some most sensitive sense-organ, as if eyes and 
ears were not enough for this sublime impression. In every 
part of me I stood aware of Abdul Baha's presence. From 
sheer happiness I wanted to cry it seemed the most 
suitable form of self-expression at my command. While 
my own personality was flowing away, even while I ex- 
hibited a state of complete humility, a new being, not my 
own, assumed its place. A glory, as it were, from the 
summits of human nature poured into me, and I was 
conscious of a most intense impulse to admire. In Abdul 
Baha I felt the awful presence of BahaVllah, and, as my 
thoughts returned to activity, I realized that I had thus 
drawn as near as man now may to pure spirit and pure 
being. This wonderful experience came to me beyond my 
own volition. I had entered the Master's presence and 
become the servant of a higher will for its own purpose. 
Even my memory of that temporary change of being bears 
strange authority over me. I know what men can become ; 
and that single overcharged moment, shining out from the 
dark mountain-mass of all past time, reflects like a mirror 
I can turn upon all circumstances to consider their worth 
by an intelligence purer than my own. 

After what seemed a cycle of existence, this state passed 
with a deep sigh, and I advanced to accept Abdul Baha's 
hearty welcome. During our two days'* visit, we were 
given unusual opportunity of questioning the Master, but 
I soon realized that such was not the highest or most 
productive plane on which I could meet him. My ques- 
tions answered themselves. I yielded to a feeling of 
reverence which contained more than the solution of in- 


tellectual or moral problems. To look upon so wonderful 
a human being, to respond utterly to the charm of his 
presence this brought me continual happiness. I had no 
fear that its effects would pass away and leave me un- 
changed. I was content to remain in the background. 
The tribute which poets have offered our human nature in 
its noblest manifestations came naturally to mind as I 
watched his gestures and listened to his stately, rhythmic 
speech ; and every ideal environment which philosophers 
have dreamed to solicit and confirm those manifestations 
in him seemed realized. Patriarchal, majestic, strong, yet 
infinitely kind, he appeared like some just king that very 
moment descended from his throne to mingle with a 
devoted people. How fortunate the nation that had such 
a ruler ! My personal reverence, a mood unfortunately 
rare for a Western man, revealed to me as by an inspira- 
tion what even now could be wrought for justice and peace 
were reverence made a general virtue ; for among us many 
possess the attributes of government would only the 
electors recognize and summon them to their rightful 

At dinner I had further opportunity of observing Abdul 
Baha in his relation to our civilization. The test which 
the Orient passes upon the servant of a prophet is spiritual 
wisdom ; we concern ourselves more with questions of 
power and effectiveness. From their alliance from wis- 
dom made effectual, from power grown wise we must 
derive the future cosmopolitan virtue. Only now, while 
the East and West are exchanging their ideals, is this 
consummation becoming possible. Filled with these ideas, 
I followed the party of Bahais through the crowded dining- 
room. Abdul Baha, even more impressive walking than 
seated, led the way. I studied the other guests as we passed. 
On no face did I observe idle curiosity or amusement ; on 


the contrary, every glance turned respectfully upon the 
Master, and not a few bowed their heads. Our party at 
this time included eighteen, of whom some were Orientals. 
I could not help remarking the bearing of these 
splendid men. A sense of well-being, of keen zest in 
the various activities of life without doubt the effect of 
their manly faith emanated from all. With this superior- 
ity, moreover, they combined a rare grace and social ease. 
All were natives of countries in which Bahaism has not 
only been a capital offence in the eyes of the law, but the 
object of constant popular hatred and persecution ; yet not 
one, by the slightest trace of weariness or bitterness, 
showed the effects of hardship and wrong upon the soul. 
Toward Abdul Baha their attitude was beautifully reverent. 
It was the relationship of disciple to master, that associa- 
tion more truly educative than any relation our civilization 
possesses, since it educates the spirit as well as the intelli- 
gence, the heart as well as the mind. Our party took seats 
at two adjoining tables. The dinner was throughout cheer- 
ful and animated. Abdul Baha answered questions and 
made frequent observations on religion in the West. He 
laughed heartily from time to time indeed, the idea of 
asceticism or useless misery of any kind cannot attach 
itself to this fully-developed personality. The divine 
element in him does not feed at the expense of the human 
element, but appears rather to vitalize and enrich the 
human element by its own abundance, as if he had attained 
his spiritual development by fulfilling his social relations 
with the utmost ardour. Yet, as he paused in profound 
meditation, or raised his right hand in that compelling 
gesture with which he emphasizes speech, I thought 
vividly once more of BahaVllah, whose servant he is, and 
could not refrain from comparing this with that other 
table at which a prophet broke bread. A deep awe fell 


upon me, and I looked with a sudden pang of compassion 
at my fellow-Bahais, for only a few hours before Abdul 
Baha had said that even in the West martyrs will be found 
for the Cause. 

After dinner we gathered in the drawing-room. The 
Master's approaching visit to London was mentioned. I 
recoiled momentarily as I pictured him surrounded by 
the terrible dehumanizing machinery of a modern city. 
Nevertheless, I am confident that nowhere else will 
BahaVllah's presence in him, as well as the principle of 
Bahaism, so conspicuously triumph. Precisely where our 
scientific industry has organized ja mechanism so powerful 
that we have become its slaves {^precisely where men have 
become less than things, and in so dwarfing ourselves have 
lost a certain spiritual insistence, a certain necessity to be, 
without which our slavery stands lamentably confirmed 
precisely there will the essential contrast between spirit 
and matter strike the observer most sharply. The true 
explanation of our unjust social arrangement does not 
consist in the subjection of poor to rich, but the subjection 
of all men alike to a pitiless mechanism ; for to become 
rich, at least in America, implies merely a readier adapta- 
tion to the workings of the machine, a completer adjust- 
ment to the revolving wheel. But Abdul Baha rises 
superior to every aggregation of material particles. He is 
greater than railroads, than skyscrapers, than trusts ; he 
dominates finance in its brutalist manifestation. His 
spiritual sufficiency, by which our human nature feels 
itself vindicated in its acutest agony, convinces one that 
the West can free itself from materialism without a social 
cataclysm, without civil war, without jealous and intrusive 
legislation, by that simplest, most ancient of revolutions, 
a change of heart. When by the influx of a new ideal 
we withdraw our obedience from the machine, its demoniac 


energy will frighten no more, like a whirlwind that passes 
into the open sea. Abdul Baha restores man to his state 
a little lower than the angels. Through him we recover 
the soul's eternal triumph-chant I Am. 

Next day the Bahais, increased by other pilgrims from 
various parts of Europe, met again at tea. On this 
occasion we new-comers were presented with a Bahai stone 
marked with BahaVllah's name. Rightly considered, 
such objects contain a spiritual influence quite apart from 
the belief of superstition a suggestive value, which, 
recalling the circumstances under which the objects are 
given and received, actually retain and set free something 
of the holy man's personality. Superstition errs in 
reckoning their power apart from the receiver's worth or 
his power of receptivity. At my request, Abdul Baha 
graciously took back the stone I had received, and returned 
it with a blessing for my baby girl who thus, as it were, 
accompanied us on our pilgrimage and shares its benefits. 
I had spent the morning walking about Thonon. Follow- 
ing so closely upon my first meeting with the Master and 
the unique impression this made upon me, my walk 
invested the commonplace of our community life with a 
new significance. So much that we accept as inevitable, 
both in people and their surroundings, is not only avoid- 
able, but to the believer even unendurable ! Yet while 
inwardly rebelling against the idle and vicious types, the 
disgusting conditions in which our cities abound, I was 
conscious of a new sympathy for individuals and a new 
series of ties by which all men are joined in one common 
\JestinyJ Perhaps the most enduring advantage humanity 
derives from its prophets is that in their vision the broken 
and misapplied fragments of society are gathered into one 
harmony and design. What the historian ignores, what 
the economist gives up, the prophet both interprets and 


employs. The least of those who enter into a prophet's 
vision become thereafter for ever conscious of the in- 
vincible unity of men. Not himself only, but all men 
seem to undergo a new birth, a spiritual regenesis. 

I have not yet mentioned the presence of Murza Asoud 
Ullah. I suffered the good fortune to be seated beside 
him at dinner, and was irresistibly attracted by his gentle 
and tender spirit. Clothed in the same beautiful Persian 
style of garments as Abdul Baha, he represented a strik- 
ing contrast with the Master, as if two wines of different 
fragrance had been poured into similar glasses. Without 
Abdul Baha's majestic qualities, his nature is nevertheless 
infinitely sweet and lovable, inspiring a regard not exalted 
into impersonal awe, but full of that devotion which 
unites the members of a happy family. As we parted 
from the Bahais on this last evening, after an impressive 
benedictory farewell by Abdul Baha, Murza Asoud Ullah, 
with the most touching sweetness, approached my wife 
and said that he wanted to be her father ; that if she 
ever needed a father's help she must turn to him. Of all 
the heart- renewing incidents with which our little pilgrim- 
age was brimmed, this was the most affecting, the most 
significant ; for it is an example of that religious fellow- 
ship, deeper than race, broader than language, which 
Bahaism has awakened in both hemispheres, and a 
prophecy for the earnest days when Abdul Baha is no 
more, and we men and women, heirs of BahaVllah's 
manifestation, labour to erect the House of Justice amid 
the increasing charity and enthusiasm of the world. 


September 3, 1911. 


O BAHA'&LLAH, may men no linger act and hope and suffer 
apart from one another ! May men no longer be separated 
by fear and jealousy and shame, as nations are separated by 
strongholds and fortresses ! In our supreme affliction, when 
we are utterly bewildered and desolate, may we lament no 
more for the loneliness of life but rejoice in its Unity ^ 
learning with simplicity, with faith, with earnestness to look 
for help and consolation in all men, even our enemies. May 
we truly feel that every personality overlaps by a little every 
other personality, and to that extent is identical with it ; 
that every experience overlaps by a little every other ex- 
perience, thereby bringing all lives into sympathy; that 
men are not so many complete and separate existences, but 
are only members of one Body and loves of one Spirit. 

Thy manifestation of Unity, O Baha^o^llah, opens the 
Divine Garden to all men, even to the least and nameless 
outcast. He who enters by thy Gate thereafter shares every 
good and beautiful thing. Whoever are rich, this man 
benefits equally by their riches; whoever are happy, he 
enters into their well-being ; whoever are wise or powerful, 
he truly shares that power and wisdom. If a lover whispers 
a sweet word to his beloved, this man will hear and be glad. 
If a philosopher unveils a new manifestation of God, this 



man will behold and worship. No blessing of earth can be 
hidden or withheld from him. 

O Baha > o' > llah ! teach us that it is better to be crushed 
and know Unity than be fortunate and take no heed. Teach 
us that the invalid who attains Unity is more capable than 
a strong man relying only upon himself; that he who suffers 
great pain continually, and learns Unity, is happier than the 
gayest of men who knows it not. 

Thou art Unity, O Baha'o'llah ! May we love Thee 
more than ourselves ! For surely we are not here at all, but 
we are in Thee. 


A Traveller's Narrative, Written to Illustrate the Episode 
of the Bab. E. G. Browne, Cambridge, 1891. 

The author, Professor of Oriental Languages at 
Cambridge University, became aware through his reading 
of a new spirit animating contemporary Persian literature, 
and obtained leave of absence for the purpose of studying, 
at first hand, the sources of this influx of imagination 
and power. This volume is his authoritative and dis- 
interested account of the Babi movement which, as we 
have seen, furnished the social impetus culminating in 
Bahaism. Professor Browne, it is interesting to record, is 
the only European having had personal intercourse with 


The Universal Religion : Bahaism. Hippolyte Dreyfus. 
Cope and Fen wick, London, 1909. 

M. Dreyfus, Docteur en Droit, Orientalist, and student 
of religious philosophy, has presented a brief but profound 
history of Bahaism, with a discussion of its social import. 
He presents his subject from the point of view of the most 



enlightened modern knowledge. In his treatment and 
conclusions we see reflected that rational acceptance of 
religious truth which, as in the case of M. Bergson and 
others, is transforming the logical Gallic intellect into an 
instrument of ampler scope and influence. 


Some Answered Questions. Laura Clifford Barney. Kegan 
Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. London, 1908. 

This book is perhaps the most valuable of all works on 
the Bahai teaching. The author spent many months at 
Akka, having daily access to Abdul Baha, whom she 
questioned concerning the Bahai interpretation of religious 
problems. The questions and answers cover important 
aspects of the following topics : The Influence of the 
Prophets in the Evolution of Humanity ; Christian 
Subjects; the Powers and Manifestations of God; the 
Origin, Powers, and Conditions of Man ; and miscellaneous 
subjects of a metaphysical nature. Some Answered 
Questions, being the Bahai teaching interpretated for a 
Christian inquirer, translates this revelation into our 
medium of thought and feeling. It brings the European- 
ized Christian tradition in touch with Bahaism, and thus 
offers to Christians a line of logical advance within their 
own doctrines. 


The Hidden Words. BahaVllah. Chicago, 1905 ; Paris, 

1905; London, 1911. 

"This is that which descended from the Source of 
Majesty through the Tongue of Power and Strength upon 
the prophets of the past. We have taken its Essences and 
clothed them with the Garment of Brevity as a favour to the 


beloved, that they may fulfil the Covenant of God ; that 
they may perform in themselves that which He has 
entrusted to them, and attain the victory by virtue of 
devotion in the land of spirit." 

Eighty-three short sayings, with communes and prayers, 
which form a book of devotion ever full of impulse and 


The Seven Valleys. BahaVllah. Chicago, London, Paris. 

In the vivid imagery of travel, BahaVllah has revealed 
the successive stages of spiritual evolution ; the Valley of 
search, the Valley of love, the Valley of wisdom, etc. It is 
the pure psychology, expressed by the prophet from his 
own discernment. 


Kitabitl Aqdas. BahaVllah. Bombay. 

The " Most Holy Book," the chief work of BahaVllah, 
dealing with society. 


Kitdbu'l Ighan. BahaVllah. Chicago. 

The "Book of Certainty," with explanations of the 
scriptures and the argument of BahaVllah. Nos. VI. 
and VII. include the most important elements of Bahaism. 
Other works of BahaVllah, however, are accessible, ex- 
plaining the relation of religion and science, religion and 
the Orthodox Church, etc. 


The Bahai Proofs. Mirza Abul Fazl. New York, 1902. 
A most lucid and satisfying work for advanced students. 



The Mysterious Forces of Civilization. Abdul Baha. 
Cope and Fen wick. London. 

The work which most definitely marks the advance 
Bahaism represents over existing revelations. It is spirit- 
ual insight turned upon society in its permanent and 
transcendent capacity ; and formulates for the West its 
own modern social tendency. 

Tablets of Abdul Baha. Vol. i. Chicago, 1912. 

This volume, a collection of letters written by Abdul 
Baha in answer to questions on every aspect of religious 
and philosophical speculation, contains the most authori- 
tative and illuminating interpretation of Bahai thought. 
Until BahaVllah's works are fully translated, the various 
tablets of Abdul Baha constitute our most valuable 

Nos. III., V., and X., compose a shorter list of references, 
which will reveal much of the power of the Bahai teaching. 
It must be understood, however, that Bahaism requires 
instruction and study, since all its conclusions are rationally 
derived and presented. 





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